First Listen: Martin Luther McCoy pays tribute to Kobe Bryant

Photo credit Lisa Keating

(August 31, 2020) The world got its first hint of just how awful the year 2020 would be on Jan. 26. That is the day that Kobe Bryant died. Had he lived, Bryant would have celebrated his 42nd birthday this month. I, like everyone else, was in shock when I heard Kobe Bryant had died. I didn’t want to believe it in part because my image of Bryant was of his feats of daring do on the basketball court.

The way that the world reacted to Bryant’s tragic death showed that the physical gifts that an athlete displays on the court can inspire people in all walks of life. We witnessed visual artists create all kind of art in the wake of Bryant’s passing. People wrote poetry and musicians penned songs, such as “Kobe Moon,” by San Francisco native and singer/songwriter Martin Luther McCoy.

(August 31, 2020) The world got its first hint of just how awful the year 2020 would be on Jan. 26. That is the day that Kobe Bryant died. Had he lived, Bryant would have celebrated his 42nd birthday this month. I, like everyone else, was in shock when I heard Kobe Bryant had died. I didn’t want to believe it in part because my image of Bryant was of his feats of daring do on the basketball court.

The way that the world reacted to Bryant’s tragic death showed that the physical gifts that an athlete displays on the court can inspire people in all walks of life. We witnessed visual artists create all kind of art in the wake of Bryant’s passing. People wrote poetry and musicians penned songs, such as “Kobe Moon,” by San Francisco native and singer/songwriter Martin Luther McCoy.

The song’s lyrics reflect the greatness that Bryant displayed on the court, as well as his role as a father, artist and businessman. McCoy said that he thought about the ways that Bryant’s greatness inspired him to excel, and the light of that example inspired the song’s title.

The athletic prowess, freedom, improvisational skill and creativity displayed by basketball players has been a well of inspiration for musicians, particularly those from the jazz and hip-hop worlds, at least since “Let It All Flow (For Dr. J.),” Grover Washington Jr.’s homage Julius Erving. Check out Martin Luther McCoy’s contribution to that canon here.

By Howard Dukes

Martin Luther McCoy - "Kobe Moon"

 
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