Mr. Bryant was an outstanding basketball player. Good at all facets of the game, he was probably one of the ten best players ever to play in the NBA. I saw an interview with Dirk Nowitzki recently, and he said that of all the players he played against, Kobe was the most difficult to defend, because he could "beat you" in ten different ways. That is a huge compliment, coming from someone who actually knows. He died young, and tragically. It was a devastating event for his intimates, a sad event for those who knew him, and those who knew him best (other players and sports figures) are indicating that they held him in high esteem and liked him a lot. All quite appropriate. But the general public? What do we know about him as a person? Was he kind and compassionate, or a jerk? All these people dragging their butts out to the desert to see the smoking wreckage, wearing tribute basketball shirts, and crying real tears? Would they emote that visibly if their uncle died? Their next-door neighbor? I rather doubt it. But this actual stranger who played professional basketball... These huge outpourings for public figures strike me as rather perverse. There are occasionally deaths of great people who impacted millions of lives (e.g., MLK), and I can see how people who didn't actually know them could have been deeply affected. But a sports star? A singer (John Lennon)? An actor? Gimme a break. Where is the perspective? Out the window.