This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of George Zimmerman being acquitted in the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin, and in support of Martin’s family, Kobe made an appearance at a peace rally held at Crenshaw High School along with his wife and LA rapper Nipsey Hussle.
During his short but meaningful speech, the future hall of famer praised Trayvon’s parents for being true inspirations for fighting through adversity.
Standing here as a basketball player, dealing with adversity with the Achilles injuries and ‘is he too old to come back and play?,’ those are all pressures that we as athletes deal with. Those are challenges we deal with. And when you look at those challenges in a vacuum, they feel like they’re the most important, the most significant things in the world going on when you look at them in isolation.
However, step outside of that, look at [Trayvon’s parents] Sybrina, Tracy and what they had to go through as a family, what they’ve come out of — that’s true adversity! That’s responding to true conflict and being true inspirations. What they’re doing now, in telling that story, I believe is absolutely phenomenal because those are stories that need to be told. And players, such as myself and others who have a platform, our responsibilities are more than putting a ball through the basket, but giving them the platform to voice these inspirations.
Kobe also gave advice to kids, urging them to find their passion so that the older generation can help and mentor them along the way.
For the kids that are here, the one thing that I will say is: Find your passion. Find what you are absolutely passionate about. It takes some searching, it takes some experimenting. Whether it’s writing, photography, or whatever the case may be, find what you’re passionate about.
The reason that’s so important is because once you find what you’re passionate about, everything else in your life lines up. Everything makes sense. You wake up in the morning and you have absolute purpose what you’re here to do, what you’re here to accomplish. So I challenge all the young people and the adults to help the next generation find what you’re passionate about and then it becomes our responsibility to guide and mentor them along the way so they can accomplish great things while changing the world. It starts with us.
Watch Kobe’s speech below: