John Altobelli and his wife and daughter were among the people who died along with Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a fatal helicopter crash on January 26. Bryant sent the baseball coach a lengthy motivational text after they experienced a difficult loss, and it preaches to never take what you love for granted.
A recent article from ESPN took an in-depth look at the Orange Coast College baseball coach, who had been with the team for 28 seasons and amassed over 700 wins. He met the Lakers legend when his daughter Alyssa Altobelli started playing on the same basketball team as Gianna Bryant.
The outlet reports that Altobelli was distraught following some tough losses, so the five-time NBA champion sent him a text message to help him regain focus. This was not your typical “hang in there” pep talk. Bryant preached about seizing the opportunity because a person never knows how long they have to pursue what they love.
Bryant began his 200-word text by telling his friend that it was alright to wallow in self-pity and “make excuses.” This was all meant tongue-in-cheek as the 41-year-old was making a point.
“By all means entertain yourself with other sh*t because the game of baseball will be here forever and you will have infinite opportunities to play this game,” the 2008 NBA MVP wrote.
The father-of-four went on to mention the “infinite opportunities” Altobelli would have to wear his glove, catch a ball, swing a bat, or engage in any baseball-related activities. He used this tactic to hammer home how fleeting these chances were.
A few of the passages take on significant meaning considering both men and their daughters would perish in the tragic crash less than a year later.
“The game of baseball will wait for you. Life will wait for you. Its not as life can be taken away from you at any moment. Nooo that would be crazy, that would be cruel. Right?”
In the last third of Bryant’s message, he mentioned the importance of never taking your passion for granted and to use “any means necessary.” He encouraged the coach to stop making excuses, displaying his ultra-competitiveness in a profanity-laced closing.
“PLAY as if every at bat may be ur last because it very f*cking well could be….Lets go get these f*ckers!”
Altobelli was so moved by the message that he had it printed and displayed on a wall so his players could see.
As reported by The Inquisitr, Altobelli’s brothers recently shared harrowing texts they sent him on the day of the crash.