Earlier today I received a notice that I just assumed was wrong, and could not be right — Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant was dead. Killed in a helicopter crash in California. And then it only got worse, as I heard of the simultaneous loss of his young daughter, and seven other precious souls.

My heart goes out to to the family of Mr. Bryant, along with all of the others on the flight this past weekend.

Mr. Kobe Bryant and I share a last name, and for that reason I have been guaranteed to be asked about him, almost weekly as I traveled around the country. This kept him in my minds eye.

We never met, though he indirectly supported an Operation HOPE program, our Banking on Our Future program, with one of our partners in Southern California. Lance Triggs from our team had a wonderfully rich conversation with Mr. Bryant, and was able to extend my and our appreciation to him.

Another dear friend of mine involved with the NBA, described Kobe Bryant this way; ‘Kobe led by example. He out thought everyone, and he out worked everyone. One of our true heroes.’

And so, I was honored to share a last name with Mr. Kobe Bryant, but as relates to achievements — in the arena of professional sports — that is where the alignment stops. Mr. Bryant was a one of a kind giant on the basketball court. And he extended this winning spirit, into his family, into his community, his business, in his service to his friends – and to each and every asapect of his life.

My heart extends deeply to his and his family, at this vastly difficult time. The loss, must seem almost unbearable. Husband, and child.

Keep them in your prayers please. I will. Our family will. Our organization will. We all – will.

In prayer, care and hope.

John Hope Bryant

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