(WJBF) – It’s a devastating day in the sports world as people are in shock of the loss of legendary NBA star, Kobe Bryant.
‘Mamba Mentality’, Number 8 and 24, ambassador, husband, and a father are only a few words that coaches in the area reflected on of Kobe’s legacy.
“They stopped the broadcast and started talking about Kobe had passed away, then also I checked my phone and saw it on ESPN, so that’s when it really hit home,” says Jeff Williams, the head coach of Lakeside Panthers’ men’s basketball team.
Basketball coaches in the CSRA share how they learned that legendary NBA player Kobe Bryant and 8 others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California…one was Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter ‘Gigi’.
Kobe and Gigi were on the way to her travel basketball game, when the helicopter crashed. the 41-year-old NBA star was also a father of 4. Both Evans and Lakeside men’s basketball coach tell us having kids of their own…it hits home.
“Tell your kids you love them every day, tell your kids you’re there for them every day…like I said just live every day like it could be your last. This is total shock. Nobody ever thought something like this would happen at 41-years-old,” says Kevin Kenny, head coach of the Evans Knights’ men’s basketball team.
The tireless work ethic and ‘Mamba Mentality’ of the 5-time champion as a Los Angeles Laker was what Kobe was known for that impacted the game of basketball.
“You even have players today try to emulate his game and try to do some of the things that he did also. We also even talk about practice and even in games your work ethic and your focus,” says Coach Williams.
But Kobe’s immeasurable impact was bigger than basketball.
“He was an ambassador, he was somebody that people in every single country that looked up to, so I think it just encompasses more than just basketball. The basketball world is going to be devastated from grade school to the NBA, but just the world in general, just the type of person he was…Kobe Bryant was more than just a basketball player,” says Coach Kenny.
“He started to give back to basketball in a huge way with the Mamba Academy, so he’s going to affect the kids and of course the athletes that he was coming in contact with,” says Coach Williams.
As people world-wide mourns for the loss of Kobe Bryant, they are reflecting on his legacy.
“I’ll remember him as one of the greatest competitors that ever lived,” says Coach Kenny
Bryant was an 18-time all star with five NBA titles, and two Olympic gold medals during his 20 seasons in the NBA. Our condolences goes out to Kobe and Gigi’s family and friends during this tough time.
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