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Sanya Whittaker Gragg with her daughter (left); Kobe Bryant with his daughter (right)

Published 02/04/2020 | Reading Time 1 min 54 sec 

By Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor of Children’s Literature 

There is no doubt that when the tragedy of Kobe Bryant’s death happened, along with his daughter and friends, parents everywhere hugged their children a little tighter.

I used to worry about the fact that I had my daughter after age 40. I asked myself: Am I selfish? 

Like, why would I take a chance of bringing a child into the world when I may not live long enough to guide her through every important milestone in her life? Why have a child now when I may not be in my top physical condition during her formative and teen years? 

Kobe’s death only amplified for me what we already know. Life is not promised to anyone. It doesn’t matter how our age, race, economic status, or how our popularity ranks. 

It does not matter!

So what is our job? Control what we can control and love hard every single day.


My daughter will always know that she is loved, and that is an amazing blessing in our lives. She often catches me staring at her with that love look, and I remind her how long I prayed for her. There will never be a doubt in her mind that she isn’t loved.

But how are we treating people every day — not just those in our inner circles, but strangers on the street? Being kind costs us nothing. Our simple interactions with others and how we make them feel can cause a ripple effect that can change the world. 

Kobe energized an entire city and a professional basketball organization through his extraordinary abilities on the court while intriguing us with his noble actions and great deeds off the court. He affected the lives of so many people in his short time here with us. But now in his death, he has inspired not just Lakers fans, but this entire nation and even the world. 

The Kobe Effect has reminded us all to take the time to really let those around us know how much we love them.

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His dash was filled with so much purpose.  

But what if Kobe’s true purpose was to bring us all together, right now? What if God needed to call someone whose death could make the whole world stop and realize that it’s only love that truly matters?

So what can we do? How can we best honor those who have gone on? How amazing would it be that going forward, we paid tribute to them all by using our simple actions of love?

There is no doubt that many lives were changed forever in the blink of an eye. And it’s tough to find good in tragic situations. It really is.  

So take a deep breath. 


And don’t take that for granted. 

Now, livelaugh, and love!


Sanya Whittaker Gragg (@memorizethe5) is a Children’s Author. She resides in Tulsa, OK with her husband Derrick, and daughter Saniyah. Her third book will be released this spring.

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...