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MMPG - Hug Your Loved Ones

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Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

In case you hadn’t heard, former NBA player Kobe Bryant and his daughter, among others, perished yesterday in a helicopter crash. MMPG urges you to hug your loved ones, as you really never know what tomorrow holds.

Go on, take a minute. Give a hug, or call, or text. Let them know that you love them.

This is a Penn State blog, and Kobe Bryant has very little to do with Dear Old State. But this is a post about humanity, and the common bonds that we all share.

For those of us with kids, who hasn’t taken their child to an event? Swim lessons, dance class, soccer practice. Shoot, just to go get groceries. The most unimaginable things can happen in the blink of an eye.

I’m a Lakers fan. I’m a Lakers fan because of Kobe Bryant, which is to say that I was a Kobe fan first, and then became a Lakers fan second.

I grew up in a very New York household - my parents were fans of the Giants, Rangers, Mets, and Knicks. For some unknown reason, I stuck with the Giants and Mets, but opted out on the Rangers and Knicks. Growing up in PA, it was the 76ers or bust, and I let my interest in the NBA drift, not really having a team to root for.

Then, late March 1996 happened.

I was just 9 years old, though I’d proudly tell you that I’d be 10 in just a month. I got to see some of the highlights of the McDonald’s All-American game, which coincidentally was being played in Pittsburgh. I watched a high school boy, a scant 8 or 9 years older than me, from eastern PA, running with the all stars.

I watched as he eschewed college, and went straight to the NBA. I watched as he joined the Lakers, and began to insert himself into the Greatest of All Time discussion.

I was a Kobe fan, and by extension became a Lakers fan.

But today, that doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t really matter if you were a fan of his, or of the Lakers. Kobe poured more into his 41 years than many do in 80 or more. Championships, MVPs, the glitz and glamour of the NBA and Los Angeles. I’d wager, if you could ask him, Bryant would say his job as a dad was the highlight of his life.

I can’t fathom the loss that Vanessa Bryant must be going through. To lose one’s husband and child at the same time? It makes me sick to my stomach.

Our sincerest condolences go out to the Bryants, and our thoughts are with everyone affected by the crash, including the other passengers and the pilot on board.

We gather together throughout the year to watch and discuss Penn State athletics, from post to post, game to game. The BSD family is real, and so we want all of you to know that you are loved. Take a minute to pass the love along, because you never know what will happen.

RIP Kobe and Gianna