What is Kobe Bryant‘s place in basketball history?

Can’t believe Kobe has died, brain is still processing this.

As many people may know I wasn’t a Kobe fan and I considered him the most overrated player of all time.

That said Kobe was still one of the greatest players in NBA history, a top 10 player all time, the second greatest SG all time without a doubt.

Kobe has the unique status amongst basketball players of being much bigger than their sport. I think Tim Duncan is probably the most contrasting example with Kobe. Quiet dude, had just a great a basketball career/resume, yet Kobe is probably 10x as famous as Duncan. Kobe was like Michael Jackson, or his idol Michael Jordan, or Tiger Woods. Someone so famous that they transcended what they did.

Kobe was famous for his legendary work ethic, his dedication to his craft, and his “mamba mentality”. He inspired millions around the world in a way that few other basketball players could. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an outpouring of grief for an athlete’s death in my lifetime. Shaq, Tmac and West all broke down crying on TV. Past legends like Kareem, Magic, Russell, Isiah, Dr J, Rick Barry all tweeted their condolences. Late night show hosts offered a tribute. Presidents Trump and Obama tweeted about it. Modern NBA greats like Lebron, CP3, Wade, Melo, KD, Curry, Iverson, Kawhi, Pierce, Kidd, Nash etc all had something to say about Kobe. It was unlike everything I had ever seen. Kobe touched almost everyone. That was his greatness.

Although I don’t rank Kobe as highly as others on my all time list, I cannot deny that Kobe was the second greatest ambassador for basketball in its history after his idol MJ, as he was probably the second most famous basketball player in the world.

RIP Kobe Bryant. You will be remembered as one of the all time greats, by anybody.

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What can we learn from the news of Sulli (f(x) member)’s death?

This was indeed a tragedy, and many kpop stars have expressed their feelings about her suicide; and the relation to both mental illness and the effect of cyber-bullying on people’s health.

Sulli was only 25 when she died, which makes it even more tragic as she’s the youngest kpop star to die pre-maturely since the death of Eunbi and RiSe (of Ladie’s Code) in a car accident back in Sept 2014. I wept at both funerals.

Here’s my take on this:

Firstly, mental illness is a huge problem in Korea especially. Korea is a very socially conservative country, where depression and mental illness isn’t properly treated and is instead shamed. There is a stigma against expressing yourself in Korea. This leads to many Koreans who feel ‘답답하다’ – feeling that they are keeping feelings bottled inside them and can’t let it out – long term, this is bad for mental health and manifests in either violence (drunken fights, domestic violence etc) or depression (suicide) – Korea has the highest suicide rate out of all OECD countries. This is an issue with Korean society that cannot change until Korean society becomes more open minded and progressive and less judging of others – the very fabric of what makes Korea society what it is today.

Secondly, online bullying is a real problem with not just Korea but every country. It’s especially pronounced in Korea though because of how judgmental people are in that country. Does it make sense to judge someone for showing their a bit of skin on top when Korean women can walk around in incredibly short skirts or shorts with no one saying a thing? That’s one of the ironies of Korean society. It’s conservative in some ways – and yet it’s not in other ways. You have churches surrounded by motels and adult shops. You have porn banned but you have hundreds of movies with bed scenes in them. The society is very contradictory.

And I have my own experience that I can relate to  – with both depression and netizens – what you really have to know is that social media really brings out the worst in people. Because they are hidden behind the safety of their own monitor, they feel like they can just say stupid, harsh, ridiculous or ignorant things without any repercussions.
Last year 2018 was really the worst year of my life. I wasn’t enjoying my job at my previous company. I wasn’t able to maintain the long distance relationship I had with my (ex) gf (partly due to my previous company which wouldn’t allow me to take any vacation time to visit my gf in Korea) which led to a messy breakup. I had broken my friendship with one of my closest friends. I had lost one third of my net worth in bad crypto investments. And to top it all off – I was forced to sell my apartment to pay off my loans, move to a place (Vancouver) where I didn’t know anyone and I lost the rest of my money from a scam, trying to move it back to Canada from the US (I was trying to avoid fees from bank commission by using a crypto exchange to move my money back – the CEO suddenly died and it was revealed that it was a ponzi scheme right when I was trying to withdraw my money ). I suffered from deep anxiety and depression because of all of this (losing 90%+ of your net worth in one year and breaking up with a girl you thought you would marry does that to you).
After I got scammed, a few articles popped online about it – and several threads were created on reddit to mock the fact that I had lost all of my money. People saw my Youtube videos online and insulted me, chided me for being an idiot for taking such a huge risk and accused me of being a money launderer. Some netizens even encouraged me to take my own life, saying that ‘stupid people like this deserve to lose their money and shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce’.

Did I contemplate suicide? Of course I did. But I also tried to talk to my friends and family more. Out of this I have to thank my family + friends for providing me support in my darkest times and giving me a reason to live. I realized that money was not everything and that I can always make it back. I realized that people online shouldn’t be taken seriously and that the only people you should take seriously are the people who are closest to you. “People who mind, don’t matter – and the people who matter, don’t mind“.

Sorry my story is kind of a tangent, but the point to hit on is this; We can’t pray for easy lives. Because life isn’t easy. We have to pray to be stronger people. We have to re-assess what is our true purpose in life and what we are living for. Who are the people who care about us? These are the things we should think about before we can decide to suicide or take our own life.
I can’t pretend to know what was on Sulli’s mind when she decided to take her own life – perhaps if I was in her shoes in the constricting Korean society with all its pressures and being only 25 years young my mind would have been the same as hers – but what we can learn from it is that perhaps Korean society should take mental health more seriously, Korean entertainment companies could treat its stars better, perhaps netizens could think more about the real-life implications of their comments and perhaps before doing something like taking our own lives we can think about other people that care about us – in a way suicide is an act of selfishness – because Sulli surely had a lot more people that loved her than hated her. I wish she would have re-thought things more before she did what she did – but it always takes a tragedy for human society to progress I feel.

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What famous musicians died prematurely?

The list is long for this one. First what do you consider premature – would 50 years old count? (The age Michael Jackson died at)? A lot of musicians tend to die young… part of the reason is probably due to their active risk taking lifestyle.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – 35 years old

Franz Schubert – 31 years old

Felix Mendelssohn – 38 years old

Frederic Chopin – 39 years old

Robert Schumann – 46 years old

Robert Johnson – 27 years old

Scott Joplin – 48 years old

Billie Holiday – 44 years old

Charlie Christian – 25 years old

Art Tatum – 47 years old

Bud Powell – 41 years old

John Coltrane – 40 years old

Charlie Parker – 34 years old

Eric Dolphy – 36 years old

Django Reinhardt – 43 years old

Wes Montgomery – 45 years old

Ritchie Valens – 17 years old

Buddy Holly – 22 years old

Elvis Presley – 42 years old

Otis Redding – 26 years old

Hank Williams – 29 years old

Sam Cooke – 33 years old

Brian Jones (Rolling Stones) – 27 years old

Jimi Hendrix – 27 years old

Janis Joplin – 27 years old

Jim Morrison (The Doors) – 27 years old

John Lennon (Beatles) – 40 years old

Paul Kossoff (Free) – 25 years old

Duane Allman (Allman Brothers) -24 years old

John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) – 32 years old

Keith Moon (The Who) – 32 years old

Bon Scott (AC/DC) – 33 years old

Elmore James – 45 years old

Dennis Wilson (Beach Boys) – 39 years old

Freddie King – 42 years old

Marvin Gaye – 44 years old

Freddie Mercury (Queen) – 45 years old

Cliff Burton (Metallica) – 24 years old

Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne) – 25 years old

Stevie Ray Vaughan – 35 years old

Roy Buchanan – 48 years old

Mike Bloomfield – 37 years old

Eddie Hazel (Funkadelic) – 42 years old

Ronnie Van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – 29 years old

Allen Collins (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – 37 years old

James Jamerson – 47 years old

Shawn Lane – 40 years old

Chris Bell (Big Star) – 27 years old

Andrew Wood (MotherLoveBone) – 24 years old

Dimebag Darrell (Pantera) – 38 years old

Elliot Smith – 34 years old

Pete Ham (Badfinger) – 27 years old

Tom Evans (Badfinger) – 36 years old

Ian Curtis (Joy Division) – 23 years old

Jeff Buckley – 30 years old

Rory Gallagher – 47 years old

Hillel Slovak (Red Hot Chili Peppers) – 26 years old

Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) – 27 years old

Layne Staley (Alice in Chains) – 34 years old

Amy Winehouse – 27 years old

Tupac – 25 years old

Michael Jackson – 50 years old

Karen Carpenter (Carpenters) – 32 years old

Teresa Teng – 42 years old

Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) – 41 years old

Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver) – 48 years old

JongHyun (of kpop band SHINEE) – 27 years old

EunB and RiSe (of kpop band Ladies Code) – 22 years old

Just to name a few…