By Autumn Moon

There are times in life when we are reminded of the inevitability of death. When we are engaged and consumed in our own experiences, we tend to forget that one day our life will come to an end. 

However, there are other times when we are forced to reconcile with the inescapable fact that one day we will cease to walk this earth. Jan. 26 served as a painful reminder of such. I was scrolling through news notifications when I saw a TMZ article that reported basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s fatal helicopter accident. 

I scrolled past the news, assuming it was fake. After all, I thought,“How could someone like Kobe Bryant possibly be dead?” I always thought of him — and celebrities like him — as somehow an invincible living being whose presence and essence seemed larger than life. 

So many people were deeply affected by Bryant’s passing. Whether you watched him on the court during his triumphant years of dominating the basketball world, or simply knew his name, he was undeniably iconic and impactful. His legacy will extend far beyond the basketball court, or even his time on earth. 

However, in the wake of his death, I haven’t stopped thinking about the response of the press. The instant after Bryant’s confirmed death, the media went into an absolute frenzy. Everywhere I looked, there were articles, broadcasts and posts. I simply couldn’t escape the story. And neither can Bryant’s loved ones. 

Celebrities with a beloved reputation like Bryant always see an overwhelming flood of public grief and mourning upon their passing. However, with such status comes a serious price and burden; Bryant’s death was also grotesquely commercialized by the media.

Death is, ironically, part of life. Yet, Bryant’s passing felt it lacked something every human has a right to: privacy. To exploit and monetize such a grave and private situation seems like a violation. It seems as if we’ve forgotten that Bryant was a human being above being a basketball icon and celebrity. 

This human being loved his family and his life. He needed oxygen to breathe, food to survive and when it comes down to it, he was just like the rest of us. His death became less human because it was transformed into a spectacle and that is immoral. Bryant’s family is being constantly reminded of his death due to excessive reporting, not to mention the other passengers whose deaths were painfully overshadowed.

Bryant’s legacy will extend far beyond his life; listing all of his individual his athletic accomplishments would be a serious undertaking. Not to mention he was a dedicated philanthropist as an honorary ambassador for After-School All-Stars, an American non-profit organization that provides comprehensive after-school programs to children in various cities. Along is wife, Vanessa, Bryant founded the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation to help young people in need of physical and social skills through sports and homeless assistance. All things considered, Bryant experienced more than just a successful basketball career; he had an insatiable thirst for life. 

Being human means so many different things. While we face unique adventures along the way, there are three pillars we all experience: birth, life and death. So, in the end, what we choose to do with our lives is all that we have. 

Bryant accomplished so much in his 41 years of life. Life is finite and death is inevitable, but it’s also beautiful and full of opportunities. Instead of viewing Bryant’s death with sadness, let’s allow his spirit to inspire us to be better, do better and live better. We only have one life to live, so let’s live it well.