Tea Time with Tagwa: Put some respect on Kobe’s check

Illustration by Karly Andersen

Tagwa Shammet, Opinions Editor

Tea timers, on Jan. 26 we lost a legend. We lost a man who put his heart into everything he did, on and off the court. We lost a man who played basketball with talent and determination. We lost a man who was passionate about training the next generation of players. We lost Kobe Bryant. 

I was devastated. To make matters worse, the news was broken by TMZ in a huge breach of journalistic ethics before the family could even be notified. I was fuming. This is not clickbait. This is not gossip. This is agony. This is loss. This is a young daughter never knowing her father. This is a 17-year-old sister losing her best friend. The fact that TMZ took this and turned it into extra traction and attention makes me sick. 

Just when I thought there was no more pain that could come from that helicopter accident, it was announced that Gianna Bryant, the professional athlete’s 13-year-old daughter, was pronounced dead. I could not imagine the pain and suffering the family must be going through. The thought of Vanessa Bryant having to hear the news about her husband and daughter was heart-wrenching. 

It’s been more than a week, and I haven’t been able to process the loss of such greatness. I, like many of you, was in complete disbelief at the tragedy. At first, I didn’t even comprehend what happened — I mean, he’s Kobe Bryant, he’s untouchable. And then, all at once, the grief took over. Bryant was an icon to all of us. He was a five-time NBA championship winner, a two-time NBA Finals MVP and the 2008 NBA MVP. But what I loved most about Bryant was that he looked like my dad and behaved like him too. They both have an undeniable hunger for success and an even more unimaginable adoration for their daughters. 

I was walking through campus and overheard someone say something about the helicopter crash that upset me beyond belief: “This is what happens when you abuse your money.” Excuse me? First of all, what someone decides to use their money on, regardless of your beliefs, is truly not your concern. Second of all, have some respect. Nine people were taken from this world too early, and you’re concerned with Bryant’s allocation of money? Disrespectful.

When someone dies, we always want to talk about how they died. Instead of talking about how people died, let’s start talking about how they lived. And that’s the tea.


  1. Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s death is a tragedy that one cannot even begin to quantify the depth of pains of the immediate family. My thoughts and prayers are with all the loved ones and everyone who feels saddened by the

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