BEAVERTON, Ore. — People of all ages continued to mourn NBA legend Kobe Bryant after he and eight others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. on Sunday morning. One of those victims was Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
At the Beaverton Hoop YMCA, Program Coordinator Jimmy Smith recalled being at a youth basketball game when the news broke.
“You could see shock and awe,” said Smith. “You saw a lot of parents get that cold feeling like, ‘I need to find my kid.’”
Smith said every Monday night he takes 30 minutes to talk with his girls youth basketball team about life. He said this week’s discussion would be tough.
“There will be tears shed tonight,” said Smith. “Tonight one of the goals is to talk about, how do you deal with death? How do you go through that and… suffer a little bit? It's really sad and it's hard to talk about.”
Bryant’s death hit especially hard for those at the gym with families.
“He had his beautiful daughter Gigi with him who had aspirations to play Division I basketball and make WNBA,” said Shane Boyd, whose fiancée Mistie Bass played for the Los Angeles Sparks. Boyd is a retired NFL football player who played for the Tennessee Titans and said he always looked up to Bryant as an athlete.
“The impact he had on people is simply amazing and iconic,” said Boyd. “I never met the man and he encouraged me to play hard, to give everything that you got and to put in extra work.”
Boyd said Bryant’s death is also a sobering reminder to take stock of what’s important in life and what’s not.
"Everybody has a date. It's inevitable", said Boyd. "But while you're here, what impact do you make? Just like [Bryant] made an impact."