Yesterday afternoon, my dad sent my brother and me a text that stuck with me. He texted:
“Hey boys! How you doing? Pretty crazy world right now. I’m glad you are safe! Too bad about sports in general. This has been my favorite time of the year. Basketball tournament time! For the health of the country, we can miss one! You will tell your kids when you are my age of the year they didn’t play a tournament. Love you guys!!”
I love my dad. He is the one that introduced me to sports, and this is by far a top five text I got from him. It is a real eye opening time period of my life. In the past three months, two of the most life altering sports moments have passed me by: The death of Kobe Bryant and Gigi, and the coronavirus cancels sports.
One, Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter accident along with his daughter Gigi. I was sitting right next to my dad watching Maryland-Indiana finish their game when my dad showed me a TMZ post on Facebook that Kobe Bryant passed away. I did not believe it. I went straight to Twitter, and so many had the same reaction as I did. This has been my first celebrity death that has truly affected the way I see things. He was never my favorite player, and the only game I remember him playing in was his last one. I was a tad too young for prime Kobe because I was born in 2003 and really did not watch regular season ball until the Warriors dynasty began in ’15. (I have been more of a college basketball guy up to this season) But, Kobe was the only player I would gain motivation from. I would have a once a month binge of random motivational videos from ages 10-13, and Kobe was always the most influential. Then, after his death, the stories that came out about his interactions with so many people struck me. I couldn’t get through the Jay Williams emotional video:
I couldn’t get through the #GirlDad video:
It was clear, Kobe affected me, just like he touched so many others.
Second, for other reasons, I will remember this because, as mentioned in the text, “You will tell your kids when you are my age of the year there was no tournament.” That is due to the COVID-13 (aka coronavirus). Every March, my dad, brother, and I always love to fill out our brackets and see them all busted before the first night is over. It is always a special time of the year because no team owns our family like the Michigan State Spartans basketball/football teams. When Michigan State is going through a rough patch, we are watching the games. I truly believe this was OUR year (I might have said that about every single year since I was able to talk). But, that is all for not because of the coronavirus.
One of the most exciting NBA seasons has been suspended for the for seeable future. I think it is the only way they could have gone. I thought about it before Rudy Gobert was the first player to be infected, and thought it would be nice if they kept televising the games with no fans so at least people would be able to watch it all over the world. But, now it only makes sense to delay the games until the pandemic has passed.
As I just have seen a tweet retweeted by Adam Schefter that shows the back of the New York Times saying: The day the sports world stopped. It is still mind-boggling to think how literally 72 hours ago, I would never have thought games wouldn’t have fans. But that’s life.