Kobe’s memorial was astounding—people, don’t tarnish it (Aubrey Bruce’s column, Feb. 26)

by Aubrey Bruce, For New Pittsburgh Courier

Recently, I have been overwhelmed by my emotions. The more that I attempt to process the death of Kobe Bryant, the depth of my grief can be equaled only by the depth of my outrage. There are a few folks in the African American community that I have come to define as “internet scholars.” The brother that I am about to introduce you to fits that mold. I know that you have to know and are forced to tolerate several of these “android intellectuals”— entertaining, accommodating and spreading nonsense about everyone and everything based on the internet. Every subject has to be connected with a stupid and unfounded “conspiracy theory.”

When I experience and encounter the general public they either want to test my sports knowledge or have me in some direct or indirect way validate their cockamamie space cadet theories about any subject matter they may come across. Instead of talking about the grief that many members of Kobe Bryant’s friends and family were and are currently experiencing, the conspiracy theory factory is now operating in full overtime mode.

There is a gentleman that I catch the bus with daily. Although he is a regular reader of the New Pittsburgh Courier, he never uses my name to address me. He always greets me by saying, “Hey Mr. Sportswriter…” On the day of Kobe’s memorial he sorta, kinda caught me in a seriously foul mood. “Hey Mr. Sportswriter, do you think the helicopter crash that killed Kobe, his daughter and those other people was strictly an accident?”

I closed my eyes trying to gather myself just for a moment as I attempted to prepare myself for this rocket-propelled grenade of BS that was about to enter my ”ear space.”

“They are saying that it’s a possibility that the ‘illuminati’ might be involved.”

NBA HALL OF FAMER MICHAEL JORDAN sheds tears of emotion speaking about Kobe Bryant, who he called his little brother, during the public memorial service in Los Angeles, Feb. 24. (Photo: ABC News)

I replied with as much civility as possible. “Who are ‘they’ and are ‘they’ a part of the official body of FAA investigators?”

“No,” the man said. “They are not part of the official investigation but they have their sources.” “Who might that source be?’ I asked.

“A beer-drinking, 20-something-year-old, paranoid schizophrenic living in his mother’s basement screaming and yelling at her because his mashed potatoes are cold and his marijuana stash is running low.”

“Mr. Sportswriter, you’re being funny now but you’re an ‘OG’ and most of your generation doesn’t get it.”

I was getting upset now. I said: “Don’t forget us old folks invented the computer. We sent men to the moon and returned them safely to earth with old analog computers.”

At that point I explained to him that I was experiencing a migraine and I was going to have to cut the conversation a bit short. “I understand;” he said. “I read your recent column and saw the photo of you and Kobe at the Civic Arena right before he was drafted by the Lakers. I know you must still be grieving.”

“That I am,” I replied. “Thanks for understanding.”

Not once did he mention Kobe’s grieving wife Vanessa or his former teammate Shaquille O’Neal or the tears of NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, or the powerful performance and tribute of Beyonce. The devil made me do it. The Illuminati are the new scapegoat for African Americans. When something unexplainable happens to famous Black celebrities it has to be a conspiracy. When something happens to one of our neighbors, well, they’re just dead. We must learn to face and accept reality and stop looking for excuses because soon and very soon we won’t have any excuses left to fall back on.


(ABOUT THE TOP PHOTO: VANESSA BRYANT, Kobe Bryant’s widow, spoke heroically about her daughter, Gianna, and husband, Kobe Bryant, at a public memorial service held at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Feb. 24. – Photo: NBC News)


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