This last month has been a rather depressing one in sports, especially in the NBA. Between the deaths and the injuries, there have been plenty of reasons to have your heart broken this last month, no matter how old you are, or what team you root for:
Dwight Powell – On January 21st, Powell went down after a non-contact injury to his leg. It was later confirmed as a torn right Achilles tendon, ending his 2019-20 season. The 28-year-old had surgery on the leg on the 28th of January and could be ready for training camp in early October, although the timetable could be more in line with the start of the regular season.
Powell was averaging 9.4 ppg and 5.7 rpg in his 26.5 minutes per game for the Dallas Mavericks.
Chandler Parsons – On January 15th, Chandler Parsons also was injured after a very rare and unfortunate car accident. The law firm representing Parsons said the accident was “seriously injuring and potentially ending Mr. Parsons’ career as a professional athlete”, as well as releasing a statement that Parsons had “suffered multiple severe and permanent injuries including a traumatic brain injury, disc herniation, and a torn labrum.”
He was hit by a drunk driver at around 2:00 PM. The 31-year-old, playing with the Atlanta Hawks this year, has dealt with “chronic knee injuries” since before 2016, according to ESPN.
Delonte West – This ex-NBA player has had a rough last couple of years but wasn’t really on anyone’s radar until January 21st when he was recorded getting beat up on the street. The video was widely seen, and players in the NBA or that West played with, as well as people West grew up with, expressed their concerns and their desires to help West through this tough time.
West, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008, has been photographed a couple of other times in the last 3-4 years, each more disturbing than the last. In his 8 year career West averaged 9.7 ppg and 3.6 apg.
David Stern – The passing of former NBA commissioner occurred on the 1st of January, and NBA fans thought that nothing else this year could top that sad event. We were wrong. Later on that in a minute. He was 77 years old at the time and died due to a brain hemorrhage he suffered three weeks previously.
In Stern’s 30 years as NBA commissioner, he accomplished more than any other sports commissioner ever has. He oversaw the formation of 7 teams and the relocation of three more teams. He started trying to get international TV stations to air NBA games in the first year of his tenure, and never stopped growing the game internationally. He is a huge reason that the NBA is as universal as it is today.
Kobe Bryant – Another reason the NBA is as big as it is is because of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. As we all know, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and 7 other passed away after a horrible helicopter crash early Sunday afternoon. Just when the NBA world thought 2020 couldn’t start any worse, we were hit with this sudden, shocking, and sorrowful news.
In the past few days, there have been various tributes to Kobe Bryant and the others. These have included social media posts, 24-second and 8-second violations in the NBA and other games, and players changing their numbers and/or wearing number 8 or 24 for a game. It is hard to write exactly what I feel about this unexpected and horrifying news, as I am sure others have found out, so please keep that in mind for this next bit.
Kobe Bryant was more than just one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he was an influence on the entire world. His interests peaked more than just basketball, and I have heard stories of him asking questions and being genuinely interested in almost anything.
I was just listening to The Tennis Podcast, and the hosts were talking about how much Kobe was very interested in tennis and didn’t turn up to tournaments and matches just for show. That is just one example, but I have heard various people telling stories about what a great person he was, and how interested he was in whatever anyone was talking about or doing.
As I said, it is hard to completely write or talk about how we are all deeply affected by this tragic event or what Kobe meant to us. I’ll sum it up this way: if there was a World Hall of Fame, I have no doubt Kobe Bean Bryant would be a first-ballot member.
Hopefully the rest of the year in the NBA gets better, because I certainly don’t see how it could get much worse.
Rest In Peace David Stern, Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester, and Payton Chester.