GRAMBLING, LA. (KTVE/KARD)– Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were traveling by helicopter to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game. Their chopper crashed about 30 miles outside of downtown Los Angeles.
Phylicia Allen with Grambling State University’s Women’s Basketball team said even though it’s been a year since the crash, she still can’t believe he’s gone.
“It felt surreal and to this day it’s unbelievable that somebody of his caliber and someone who impacted the game since he’s been in there at the age of 18 it’s so different,” Allen said.
“It just didn’t even seem real, I just sat there like, ‘this can’t be real’,” Alexus Holt with GSU Women’s Basketball said.
Alexus Holt said Kobe’s character spoke volumes for the type of player he was.
“People were a fan of him and not just the Lakers,” Holt said. “His name spoke for himself and he did a lot for people.”
After playing 20 seasons with the Lakers, his resume sported a series of achievements. He was a 17-time all-star, a 2-time finals MVP, a 5-time champion, a league MVP, and finished his career 3rd on the all-time scoring list.
“Mamba mentality means just to be great at all times,” David Pierre, GSU Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach, said. “I think he had the ability to push his teammates beyond the level, beyond the measure that they thought they could go to. I think that’s one thing that I really admire about him. He just had the ability to push himself and others.”
Holt said Kobe wasn’t just memorable for his hustle within those four lines, he also made an impact off the court.
“Whether it was getting a basket on the court or if it was going to this fundraiser to help some kids out,” Holt said. “He really made a huge impact on people on and off the court.”
Although it’s been a year since his passing, his legacy and drive lives on in those who love the game.
“And every game that he’s played and every court that he’s stepped on he gave it like it was his last,” Allen said. “It tells me that everyday isn’t promised and that every game isn’t going to be played, but if I do play I need to play with my all.”
“His legacy will forever live on and it impacted me and I’m going to continue to allow it to fuel me as we go on into the season,” Holt said.
Rest in peace, Kobe. We do this for you, man,” Allen said.