This Kobe thing has me thinking. Yeah, he was a whiny bitch and he brought the art of flopping in basketball to new heights, and he might have done some really bad stuff to women, only one that we know of. But he brought immeasurable joy to millions of people. In the words of Dave Chappelle, he saved more than he raped.
K, so death always leads to thoughts of mortality and legacy and how we each ourselves will be remembered. If you ask anyone who only knew me between the years of 2010-2016, they will make a disgusted face and tell you what a miserable c**t I am. And they wouldn’t be wrong. I was. I was mean as a snake.
But if you ask someone who has known me only after 2016, they will tell you that I am funny and silly and kind and friendly and compassionate and there for you when you are at your lowest, but also that I don’t take shit from N-E-One. I don’t have any more time to be going around and transgressing. I have to devote the rest of my life to learning the lessons and doing the work. I’ve gotta put more good into the world to make up for all the bad I did.
We all deserve a chance at redemption. Do I know if Kobe repented for his wrongs or was ever honestly contrite? No, and he didn’t owe me that information. A lot of the fixing and growth has to be done in private because it is done very vulnerably and can be very painful. It can be scared away and the person can become bitter and cruel. Look at Louis CK. He apologized for what he did privately before the story broke, got hammered by the public when it did break, and now his jokes are about the victims of gun violence.
You wanna talk about Kobe’s mixed legacy? You wanna call him out for being a terrible person? Great. It must be absolutely wonderful to never have had to learn the lesson of being publicly shamed and hounded and facing loved ones and keep living every single day for the rest of your life. A little compassion for the worst of us, please, but especially for those who have hurt us in the past. They too deserve the chance to grow. And we deserve a chance to move on from the hurt they caused us. Forgiving is the only way we allow for both of these things to happen.
And this message goes double for liberals who are quick to condemn Kobe but can harp on about prison reform and civil rights restitution and inner cities and institutional injustice. You don’t get to cherry pick. As John has reminded me, we are all victims of the patriarchy. And there is so much unlearning to be done by all sides.
I refuse to participate in any more daily “five minutes of hate.” It doesn’t do anybody good.