Friday, September 14, 2012

Kobe Bryant and the Homeless

This post is not about sports.

It's far too rare that we hear stories where the people in our society who have had things break their way look outside of themselves and gain a perspective that leads them to help the less fortunate. 

Kobe Bryant has been known through his career for many things.   He is a great basketball player who is known for his defense and especially his clutch scoring.  He has been known as a petulant star, causing rifts within his own organization in order to ensure his place at the top of the pecking order.  He has been publicly outed as a philanderer via a rape accusation.

He has also, apparently, grown  up a bit right in front of our eyes.

A quote from Bryant Wednesday at an event in Hollywood to promote his work to help the homeless in Los Angeles.

You have to do something that carries a little bit more weight to it, a little more significance, a little more purpose to it,” “My career is winding down. At the end of my career, I don’t want to look back and just say, ‘Well, I had a successful career because I won so many championships and scored so many points.’ There’s something else that you have to do with that.”

Kobe said that it struck him as he drove back and forth to the Staples' center how many people he would see living on the streets, and the contrast between his own life and the lives of these struggling people touched him.  While he was looking for a way to help, he came up My Friend's Place.  He and his wife Vanessa, though separated pending their divorce, agreed that they should make it a focus of the Vanessa and Kobe Bryant foundation.

Since then they have helped to refurbish the facilities showers, also providing new furniture and paint.  Most important in what the Bryants' foundation sponsorship activities, is the pending completion of 18 more units which will drastically expand the number of young people that My Friend's Place can lend aid to.

Kobe, I have never been a fan of your playing style, or your public persona, but you deserve our congratulations and support in this endeavor.

If anyone would like to join Kobe in whatever small way you can, please follow this link to see what you can do.


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