A shockwave hit sports fans around the world Sunday over the untimely death of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant who was just 41 years old.
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles.
Thousands of fans gathered outside LA’s Staples center, where Bryant played for the Lakers his entire 20-year career.
Julie Sierra, a Los Angeles resident, attended the gathering where many fans are still in shock over the news of his passing.
“One thing I’ve noticed, is that for all the people it’s silent. Everybody’s in grief. Everybody’s mourning. Everybody has respect for this man and his family and his daughter. It’s painful. We really lost somebody legendary today.”
Bryant, known for his fiery competitiveness, went straight to the Lakers from high school at 18-years-old. He won 5 NBA Championships, two Olympic gold medals and was an 18-time all star.
Bryant is third on the list of all-time NBA scorers – surpassed by Lebron James the night before he died. James spoke about Kobe’s influence on his life as a young man.
“I remember one thing that he said, he was like, ‘If you want to try be great at it, or you want to be one of the greats, you have to work at it. You know there is no substitution for work.'”
Bryant had difficulties in his personal life, facing a sexual assault charge that was later dismissed in a settlement with the accuser.
During a 2015 interview with GQ, he said that confronting those challenges led him to consider certain life choices he was making and return to his faith for guidance.
“The one thing that really helped me during that process – I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic – was talking to a priest. It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, ‘Did you do it?’ And I say, ‘Of course not.’ Then he asks, ‘Do you have a good lawyer?’ Uh, yeah, he’s phenomenal. So then he just said, ‘Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in His hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go.’ And that was the turning point,” Bryant told GQ.
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