I think the year was 2001 when my future wife and I was at Les Misérables in New York. Before the performance started, she had noticed someone around 10 rows behind us.
“Hey, isn’t that Kobe Bryant?”
It was. Kobe at age 23, had already established himself as a basketball superstar and was one of the most recognizable athletes in the NBA.
“Why don’t you talk to him?” Was she daring me?
I walked up briskly, a little surprised that no one else decided to approach him. I decided to keep my interaction brief, asking for his autograph and commenting how I liked his game. He gave a brief smile, signed my ticket, and said “Thanks.”
When the news broke that Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, I felt sad like so many others. He wasn’t perfect. But he certainly seemed to live his life to the fullest, in the way that he wanted. I hope that was true.