Eminent apologist Ravi Zacharias has penned a poignant response to the death of NBA legend, Kobe Bryant. Bryant, 41, was killed alongside his daughter and seven others when his private helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California on Sunday.
“Here in the Philippines, we are just waking up to sad and shocking news of the death of one of basketball’s greatest players, Kobe Bryant,” Zacharias, wrote. “Along with his daughter, Gianna, and others on board, he went down to an early grave just as this new year has dawned. Our hearts ache to think of them, especially in their final moments.”
Ravi noted that he was about to speak at the Philippines Prayer Breakfast to mark National Bible Day in the country; the event was being hosted by star athlete and committed Christian, Manny Pacquiao. Basketball is heralded as the national sport in the Philippines and Bryant himself had recently opened up an academy in the country.
The wall of the new center has become a tribute to the former LA Lakers player. “Rest in paradise my hero,” read one scrawled message. “Always be a legend,” another added. “Incredible family man.”
“It’s just sad. It feels like I lost a brother that I look up to,” one fan told the BBC. “I named my son Kobe not just because of his on-court skills but more on how he inspires people to have the drive to be the best version of themselves in whatever field they are in.”
In the wake of Bryant’s death, Ravi’s talk could not have been more appropriate.
“The theme for my talk is “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the word of God abides forever,” he explained, noting that “such sudden losses bring all of us into the sobering reality of an appointment we will all have to keep and the vaporous span of life.”
It also makes us realize afresh “how significant the gift of life is,” the apologist noted.
Zacharias went on to offer prayers for the Bryant family. “Grief limits words but not reality. May God give us all the knowledge to so number our days that we might incline our hearts to His will. May the Everlasting Word bring comfort to them. God, hear our prayers,” he wrote.
Ravi’s words are among the millions posted, tweeted and spoken in response to the sudden loss.
In a statement, the NBA said it was “devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.”
“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning.”
On Twitter, the tributes continue to pour in.
“There are no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy,” wrote fellow Lakers star, Shaquille O’Neal. “I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW.”