Basketball shot with crowd background

The Loss of Kobe Bryant

An Outpouring of Love

National tragedies or the death of a public figure such as Kobe Bryant, causes us to stop and mourn. Bryant was an icon in the sports world as well as nationally and internationally. His loss is felt by many across the globe. Such a loss touches even those who did not know him personally. Also, eight others died with Bryant. While not as well known as Bryant, they were shining stars in their own right.

Listening to Kobe’s friends and peers speak about him, I am touched by their desire to honor him even though they have not yet gotten control of their emotions. One of his former coaches in the NBA spoke at a press conference. He was not able to hold his feelings down, and several times during the brief time he spoke, he had to stop and compose himself. That same scene played out numerous times with Kobe’s other close relationships, talking about what Kobe meant to them. It is reflective of the deep love and admiration they had for him. 

Because of their deep feelings for Bryant, many of his peers and friends chose to speak publicly of the loss before they had time to fully process the shock of such a sudden loss or control their emotions.  


In an Instagram post from LeBron James, the day after Bryant’s passing, he wrote: “I’m not ready, but here goes.” In a touching display of his love for Kobe, James was determined to push through his grief and speak about how he would honor his friend Kobe. (Read the full Instagram post here:

Consider for a moment how far-reaching the grief is. All nine aboard that helicopter had family, friends, peers, acquaintances, co-workers that are directly touched by the loss of each individual who died. Their workplaces will no doubt also be feeling the profound loss of their employee’s loved ones. Three young students died in the crash. Their schools will most likely provide counselors on-site to help their fellow students process the loss. However, most workplaces do not offer such assistance. 

It is possible that you, as a manager, could be called on at a moment’s notice to speak about one of your employees who has been touched by a tragedy. In the case of Kobe Bryant, the media was an aid to his friends in speaking about their grief. In general, most companies would not have such support available to them to address their pain. In your company, it could be one of your employees or a member of their family that experiences a tragedy. As with Bryant’s circle of friends, do you think you could pull yourself together enough to communicate about the loss?

your workplace could be impacted

Here are some things that would be valuable to consider and perhaps plan for within your company:

  • Since communication is of the utmost importance during a crisis, acknowledge the tragedy by communicating sensitively and with a personal tone.
  • Consider who would be the person to speak to the public or your company, and what would they say.
  • How should your employees be notified? Via email, company meeting, or department heads of individual teams?
  • What is the relationship with the person in your company?

How severely these events impact your employees, their work effort, and the company is not predictable. Putting a process in place that can aid company managers is your best course of action so that when the need arises, you are ready to respond quickly and effectively.

Are you prepared?

With trauma, it is not a question of whether or not it will hit your company; it is a question of when. My advice as a business coach is to be prepared for when. My newly published workbook entitled “Workplace Trauma Solutions – A Workbook for Managers” guides you step-by-step so that you and your staff are ready to deal with trauma, grief, and loss. Read more at 

I offer professional workplace trauma solutions with a human resources and manager focus from early stages to late stages of trauma, grief, and loss. My process is compassionate and in-depth. After an initial consultation, I prepare a tailored program based on your specific needs. Coaching encompasses one-to-one manager or staff member training or the entire team or company. If you are interested in setting up a training class or a no-obligations call reach me at or 551-800-1127.