Kwon Alexander Played Out of Rage after Brother’s Death
Kwon Alexander had one of the best years of his life and one of his worst in 2015. It was the year his NFL dream became a reality, but also a year that would see his brother's dreams get ended.
The New Orleans Saints' linebacker lost his brother, Broderick Taylor Jr., to a gun violence incident in late October 2015.
He chose not to forego an upcoming match and played the game of his life just 48 hours later. All the while, it was rage that got him through the game.
How Kwon Alexander Knew about Brother's Death
Alexander was getting some much-needed downtime the Friday before his upcoming match with the Atlanta Falcons. The date was October 30, 2015.
A phone call interrupted him while he decided where to get dinner that night. It was his mother, Peaches Taylor, on the other side of the line.
In a faint voice, his mother told him how his brother had got shot.
In his The Players' Tribune piece, he recalled the moment, writing he felt as if everything had stopped.
"It was like all the air got sucked out of the room and the lights went out," he said of the moment. While he felt as if everything stopped, his mother had started her prayers under her breath.
Broderick Jr. was clinging to his life. Peaches asked Alexander to pray and left for the hospital.
He did not think Broderick would die. He had this "feeling" that he would make it out alive.
So he went to get dinner, all the while waiting for his mom to call back with some good news. He kept trying to convince himself that Broderick would be all right.
About 30 minutes later, Peaches called him and said only two words — "He's gone."
Alexander said he went blank and remembered crying until he could not anymore.
Broderick, or Lil' Brod, as everyone called him, was 17 at the time — almost 18. With his birthday right around the corner, he had gotten into a fight that night.
The situation escalated, and somebody shot him in the chest. Bystanders at the scene told him that Broderick's eyes gave away his death right at that moment.
Alexander spoke highly of his brother in his writing. "He was the goofy kid who loved life and wanted everybody to be happy and smile," he said.
They were in contact throughout his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He had been drafted by the Bucs just that May.
Broderick was his biggest fan and kept asking for a jersey with Alexander's name on it. He also asked for advice on football or girls. "He was my guy," Alexander remembered of his brother.
Alexander had promised he would get him one. He expressed his grief for not being able to keep his promise.
Kwon Alexander's Game after Brother's Death
Alexander's game with the Falcons was supposed to be his homecoming as his whole family had planned to go watch him play. He grew up in Oxford, Alabama, and the stadium he was playing was just a 90-minute drive away.
But he did not want to play. He was hurting, and so was his whole family. Alexander was ready to book a flight back to Alabama and skip the game.
He had his team's support to skip. His mother asked him to do otherwise.
She forbade him from going home. "Brod would have wanted you to play. So you go play," Peaches told him.
"And I played the game of my life," he recalled of the game against the Falcons.
Kwon Alexander played the game of his life against the Atlanta Falcons days after his brother died in 2015. (Photo: Twitter)
He drove his team to victory with 11 tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery. The Bucs won 23-20 overtime.
In his The Players' Tribune writing, he said he was more focused on a game than he had ever been.
He also made a "weird" comparison — Alexander compared his mentality to Bobby's from the Adam Sandler movie The Waterboy.
Alexander pretended that "whoever had the ball was the person responsible for taking my little brother away from me and my family." He was out to destroy everyone with a red shirt.
Know mentioned Broderick was with him throughout the game. He encouraged his big brother the entire game, making Alexander do things he would later have to pause and comprehend.
One year after his brother's tragic death, @TBBuccaneers LB Kwon Alexander pays tribute to his biggest fan. https://t.co/AjmwwGURNG pic.twitter.com/22n6xfljtw — The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) November 9, 2016
Nobody but his auntie could make it there to see him have the best game of his career till that day.
His brother's death changed his perspective on game and life.
During an interview with Tampa Magazines in 2018, he said he thought about Broderick every morning. The incident made him happy to be alive.
He confessed he felt Broderick's presence all the time, and that made him feel undefeated.
Alexander even got a tattoo that says "All You Wanted Me to Do Was Ball" in Broderick's memory.