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Calgary basketball club mourns loss of Kobe and Gianna Bryant

Calgary’s basketball community mourns loss of Kobe Bryant
The death of Kobe Bryant sent shockwaves across the world, including here in Calgary. As Jayme Doll reports, some members of a local sports organization had just recently me the NBA great.

The death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant is a loss being felt around the world — including in Calgary.

The 41-year-old died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

KOBE BRYANT HELICOPTER CRASH

READ MORE: Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash near Los Angeles — reports

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Earlier this month, a group of young players from Calgary’s Genesis Basketball had the chance to play against Gianna at a basketball camp at Mamba Sports Academy in Los Angeles.

“I saw her around,” player Tsukuru Tsuzuki said. “She, of course, was a shooter like Kobe. She was very good.”

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Some of the players even got to meet the legend himself.

“It was crazy at first,” Tsuzuki said. “I was like, it’s Kobe … But then you kind of realize he has a daughter; he’s just a normal coach and normal dad who wants to coach his daughter. But it was crazy; it was surreal.”

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant celebrates with his daughter Gianna, following the Lakers’ 99-86 defeat of the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the NBA Finals at Amway Arena in Orlando, Fla., on June 14, 2009.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant celebrates with his daughter Gianna, following the Lakers’ 99-86 defeat of the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the NBA Finals at Amway Arena in Orlando, Fla., on June 14, 2009. Getty Images
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Genesis founder Eddie Richardson had the chance to visit with Bryant at the camp.

“The love he showed our programs, our kids, our girls that he played against… he took the time to show love and take pictures with them,” Richardson said. “He was an amazing man.”

Fans gather outside L.A.’s Staples Centre following to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant
Fans gather outside L.A.’s Staples Centre following to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant

The young players on Genesis Basketball were hit hard by the news of Bryant’s death, as were their parents.

“As a father, as a fan, it’s pretty heartbreaking,” Jay Jerowsky said. “It’s interesting to see how someone you’ve never even met but kind of idolized a little bit growing up can have such an impact in your life, and you kind of feel like it’s a good friend who passed away.”

Oneil Gritton was also feeling the loss.

“Even now, I still can’t believe it. Feels like I honestly lost a family member. I’ve been a Kobe fan for so long,” Gritton said.

“Time is precious, and you don’t know when it’s your time to go,” Gritton said. “You’ve got to love your family, love your loved ones, be close to them … You can’t take things like this for granted.”

Alicia Keys, Boyz II Men pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at 2020 Grammys opening
Alicia Keys, Boyz II Men pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at 2020 Grammys opening