After the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent trial of George Zimmerman, many African-American public figures came out in support of the Martin family at rallies, on social media and in the press. However, Kobe Bryant came under fire for his controversial comments about the Miami Heat posting a photo wearing hoodies. Many felt as though he was harsh and disrespectful.
However, this weekend the NBA star headed to Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles to participate in a rally with Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, where he spoke from the heart about his evolved position and the importance of taking a stand.
Here is a portion of his remarks which were made in front of students as well as the Martin family and Kobe’s own family.
"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.
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 the full speech here: