By Dr. Marie Gould Harper
Dean, School of Business, American Public University
When I briefly noticed the headline, all I saw was “Kobe” and “killed.” It took me several hours to realize that, indeed, Kobe Bryant was dead. I felt just as fellow Los Angeles Laker LeBron James did; initially, it was difficult for me to gather my thoughts and put them down on paper.
Like Kobe, I grew up in the Philadelphia area, and I remember the day that he was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996. Everyone knew there was something special about him.
After all, Kobe went directly from high school into the professional National Basketball Association, an extremely rare feat. However, it seems like our appreciation of him wasn’t fully realized until we lost him.
As I watched the many reports on TV, I thought about how each commentator captured a part of his life and why people respected – and loved – him so. The ultimate combination to which leaders in all walks of life aspire.
Start a management degree at American Public University.
Kobe Bryant Was an Example of a Leader Who Knew No Limits
Kobe was an example of a leader who knew no limits. He strove for the impossible and sought to push against established boundaries.
Who was Kobe Bryant?
- He was a husband, father, son and brother.
- He was a brave man who probably provided comfort to his child once he realized what was about to happen.
- He was an exemplary leader who pushed himself beyond what others thought was possible – becoming a good example for leaders in all walks of life.
- He believed in his skills and ability to be successful even as he competed against himself.
- He perfected his craft and then when he retired from the NBA, paid it forward by establishing the Mumba Sports Academy for youngsters.
Kobe knew who he was and what he could do at an early age. I had the opportunity to be present at one of his personal appearances when he spoke about his passion, spreading love for the game of basketball. Kobe said he wanted to inspire constant curiosity and challenge youth to become better today than they were yesterday.
Kobe Bryant’s Legacy Touches the Millions Who Watched Him Grow
His legacy reaches beyond his own family. It touches the millions who watched him grow and become the man that he was. His life is an inspiration to us all “to push past the pain” and become the best that we can be in whatever we choose to do.
Life is precious. Each day should be valued because we never know when we are going to breathe our last breath. Kobe Bryant’s tragic and untimely death is a challenge for each of us to grab the baton that he has passed on to us.
We should pick up where he left off by being focused on our purpose, striving to be the best person we can be. Whether in business or in our everyday activities, we should reach out and pull someone up who will benefit from our mentoring. In essence, each one can reach one!
Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant. Your life is an inspiration on how to persevere and make overcoming the challenges in life part of our journey.
About the Author
Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Dean of the School of Business at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments.
Dr. Gould Harper is an innovative thinker and influential leader, manifesting people skills, a systematic approach to problems, organizational vision and ability to inspire followers. She is committed to continuous improvement in organizational effectiveness and human capital development, customer service and the development of future leaders.