Students mourn death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant

In remembrance, Tyler Ward and Gage Wiseman stand together in their Kobe Bryant jerseys.

Delaney Jones

In remembrance, Tyler Ward and Gage Wiseman stand together in their Kobe Bryant jerseys. "I'll never forget where I was at when Kobe died," said Wiseman.

On the morning of January 26, 2020, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, aged 41, was killed in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna Bryant, aged 13, and seven other passengers. In the next 24 hours, friends, fans, former teammates, and the basketball community came together as a whole to mourn the tragic losses. While many people did not know Kobe Bryant personally, the loss still hurts as many have lost a hero and role model.

“I didn’t believe it at first…it didn’t really process at first, but it just hurt because I grew up watching him,” said Tyler Ward, a junior who is a member of the basketball team.

“I was talking to my co-worker and like we just started crying together,” said Gage Wiseman, senior.

The shock and disbelief was experienced by most. Basketball players around the world attribute their love for basketball to Bryant. Laker’s fans will tell you how he made them a fan of the team. People remember the first time they saw him play.

“Kobe was the only reason I started liking the Lakers,” said Drew Hurelbrink, sophomore. “When I was in third grade I watched the Laker’s game on Halloween and Kobe was playing and I was like alright, he’s good, I’ll start liking him so than he was just my favorite player,” said Hurelbrink.

“Kobe’s the whole reason I ever even started to dribble a basketball growing up,” said Wiseman.

While players tried to imitate his moves on the court, students learned more than just basketball moves from Bryant. They learned a mindset and a way of living life.

“I can start with the Mamba Mentality, he would put himself in this cage and he was a different monster when he was out on the court,” said Ward.

“Mamba Mentality is like expecting perfection and the best in whatever you are doing, not just for yourself, but everyone around you. It’s a mindset not everyone has and it’s not an easy one to get,” said Wiseman.

Emma Babb, a freshman basketball player, was also shocked and upset by the loss.

“Not only was he a father who really cared for his children, but a person who dedicated everything to basketball,” said Babb.

Wiseman and Ward know they will never forget the day Bryant died. As Wiseman put it, “there will never be another Kobe.”

While this may be true, Bryant has left behind a legacy that will last for many years to come. “I hope kids that aren’t born yet will know what a great player he was,” said Hurelbrink.

One thing is sure for the generation who yelled “Kobe” every time they threw anything. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.