BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Kobe Bryant was an NBA legend, and a role model for many basketball players. His life was cut short, when a helicopter he was in crashed into the hillsides of Southern California. Basketball fans across the nation are grieving the loss, especially his younger followers.
Abby Dillon and Sara Diehl play for the Park Middle School Girls Basketball Team. They looked up to Kobe Bryant.
“Inspirational. Family man. Such a great basketball player,” Dillon said when talking about Kobe.
Kyndall Ince plays for the Oak Hill Middle School Girls Basketball Team. She said she was devastated to hear the news of Kobe’s death.
“I was really heartbroken. He’s helped me really learn what basketball is,” Ince said.
Kobe Bryant’s daughter, Gianna Bryant, was also among the nine people killed in the crash. She was only 13-years-old, and aspired to one day play in the WNBA, following in her father’s foot steps.
Players from local girls basketball teams are now making it their goal to play for Gigi.
“Playing just for her because I know she was going to be something, so it pushes me to go harder,” Dillon said.
“She was really good at basketball like her dad was and I do look up to her. I’m playing for her and her dad,” Diehl said.
But one team went above and beyond to honor Gigi Bryant’s legacy, by writing ‘Gigi’ on the shoe of every team member.
“She worked as hard as we do, if not harder and she deserves tribute. She’s our age and she played basketball just like us,” Ince said.
Honoring the Bryant legacy, by sharing the same love for the game.