I sent my column last week before I saw the news of the helicopter crash which claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven other people. I really don’t know what I can add to the words so many people have said because I don’t want to seem either maudlin or insensitive. John Donne wrote that no man was an island and the families involved were all intertwined by being involved with Bryant’s girl’s basketball program. I guess I’ll say they’ll be missed.
While John Andretti was far from being as famous as Bryant, he had his own niche by being a member of a famous racing family (Mario’s nephew, Michael’s cousin) and by being a solid driver in both NASCAR and Indy Car racing. Like his uncle Mario, he was a versatile driver in several series and a gracious athlete towards the public.
Princeton Senior High School graduate Elvin Little distinguished himself as a basketball player at PSHS, making its Athletics Hall of Fame, then making a notable career as a high school basketball coach in Tennessee. He, like Bryant and Andretti, passed away this week at the age of 88 (Bryant was 41, Andretti, 56). The world is poorer without them.
In the less serious world, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in the Super Bowl. By the way, the name “Super Bowl” came about from the daughter of Chiefs’ original owner Lamar Hunt referring to her toy “Super Ball”.
Pat Mahomes II led the comeback and won the MVP for doing so, but I’d give the Chiefs’ defense a few game balls for holding the 49ers’ offense down enough so that he could do it. Then again, a 10-point deficit with 17 1/2 minutes remaining is hardly insurmountable by recent Chiefs playoff game standards (see the division playoff game against the Texans as an example)
I’m glad the Chiefs won because I like to make good predictions, I’m happy for Andy Reid who finally got a ring as a head coach at the age of 61 (he had one as a Green Bay assistant) and I’m glad Mahomes, now, whichever way his career goes, will have a Super Bowl win on his resume, something Dan Marino never got.
As for dynasty talk, I’m glad Mahomes shut that down. There are too many factors to consider and any more, dynasty means, in the current denotation, so successful that we’re sick of talking about you.
I found something else to say regarding Bryant. There are a number of athletes currently facing life transitions (to stay or to go) who should consider the fact that we are never promised tomorrow and what happened should be placed under consideration for their future.
It’s their lives but I remember the sight of Johnny Unitas, considered when he was active the greatest quarterback ever, ending his career as a benchwarmer on the then-San Diego Chargers or Joe Namath with the Rams and I can’t help but to think of Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Phillip Rivers in those shoes. Eli Manning showed that he didn’t want to follow that path by retiring.
Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter and columnist for the Princeton Times. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org