“Long Live King Kobe”
Sherman Chambers’ 21 year old son Tyler Kobe Nichols was murdered in a random knife attack in Brooklyn two days before Christmas in 2020. Nichols, who was with his brother, had just gotten a haircut when the incident occurred. As author Paul Auster writes: “It was a weird and senseless crime…a sudden, unprovoked burst of violence, on a tranquil street in a tranquil Brooklyn neighborhood on the eve of Christmas Eve.” That incident not only disrupted the tranquility of the holiday of season, it permanently capsized the tranquility of a family who no longer had their son. But they had each other. And while the void Tyler left was a gaping absence that could never be filled, his family guarded that space by gathering together. And after they found strength in each other, they reached out to their community and anyone else who had suffered a similar loss. And the unvarnished realization that emerged was that we can’t heal without each other. Tyler’s mother Sherma’s chance meeting with photographer Spencer Ostrander who was working on a book with novelist Paul Auster, formed an instant connection and gave birth to the book Long Live King Kobe: Following the Murder Of Tyler Nichols. A powerful book whose connective narrative tissue is made up of interviews with Tyler’s family along with stirring photographic portraits and spartan prose from Auster, Long Live King Kobe is a compelling document of the geometry of loss and the calculus of healing. It’s a eulogy, it’s a celebration and it’s a testament to the fact that trauma can dissolve and turn into healing. I’ll let Sherma and Tyler’s cousin Kareem Eusebe and Spencer tell you about the book and the Long Live King Kobe Foundation and the peaceful initiatives that have been enacted through the foundation to help support families who have suffered losses. But let me just say this before we begin: this is a heavy conversation but it’s also a beautiful one. And if you’re a person on this planet you’re going to experience loss and nothing can prepare you for it—even if you think you are. And this is a very important reminder that all we have is each other and if we stick together we can get through anything.