FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shared a five-paragraph essay Tuesday that he wrote about how he has been "deeply affected" by the death of Kobe Bryant, Bryant's daughter Gianna, and seven others in a January helicopter crash.
In the piece posted on social media titled "What's really important?" Brady wrote that after witnessing the "outpouring of love and support for the families that had so much left to give," it has helped him reflect and gain perspective. He shared that the tragedy has kept him up at night and led to many tears.
Brady posted the essay one day after a celebration of Bryant's life in Los Angeles included touching remarks from Bryant's widow, Vanessa, as well as basketball stars Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Diana Taurasi, among others.
"In Kobe, we were able to witness the man in the arena. For many of us, sports show what we are made of, they define our personalities and emotions. We cannot hide from the good or the bad, from the wins or the losses ... the joy and despair, the happiness and the pain," Brady wrote.
"What you see is what it is, we aren't actors. We have found a real life stage where we become vulnerable to the world and are judged based on the outcome of each performance. And we care deeply about what we do.
"For some, these days are the pinnacle of their life, and there's nothing wrong with that, but it's clear to me, for Kobe, that was how he lived his life in every way. In his second chapter, you saw even more."
Brady noted how Bryant "had the energy to recognize in others what they could not recognize in themselves."
"I think that's why I will miss him most," Brady wrote, later calling Bryant a "real superhero our world needs.
"That's why we hurt. Because we know that he was always fighting against the norm. He was doing more than his share. Now who is going to do the work that is still here to be done? Who is going to fight and break the norms with love and joy and inspiration? Who is going to discard fear, and doubt, and hate? Who is going to carry the load and be the superhero that he was?
"The answer is simple to me, ALL OF US. Decide to make the change in yourself. If there is anything I have learned and been inspired by through this tragic event, it is this, SEIZE THE DAY. That's what Kobe always did, and that's what he wanted for us too."