Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
The 41-year-old was universally considered one of the greatest basketball players to ever play in the NBA. Unsurprisingly, Bryant’s untimely passing sparked reactions from some of his fans in The Gambia.
Kobe was not only one of the most gifted, fierce, and competitive basketball players this planet has ever witnessed, but an inspiration to young Gambian basketball players like Abdoulie Jarju. Assistant captain and point-guard/shooting with YMCA basketball team, Jarju said “Kobe inspired a lot of us when we started playing basketball.”
“It’s sad that a legend passed on like this. He inspired me to make my jersey number 8 and till today that’s my jersey number.”
The Secretary General of The Gambia Basketball Association Muhammed Njie described Bryant’s passing as a shocking day for global basketball. “This is sad day for basketball all over the world, “Njie told The Chronicle. Kobe was very hardworking and discipline on and off the basketball court. He inspired a lot of Gambian basketball players and some of us used to call ourselves Kobe while growing up playing basketball.”
Bryant entered the NBA straight out of high school. In 1996, he was the youngest player in NBA history at that time, at 18 years, 2 months and 11 days.
Bryant has two Olympic gold medals for men’s basketball. He has won five NBA championships. “He changed the game of basketball by being fearless and working hard to help his team win. “Said Njie. On behalf of the entire Gambia basketball family, we extend our condolences to his family and the whole of United States of America.”
Muhammed Jaiteh, a small forward of Serekunda East Basketball team said Kobe Bryant has served the game of basketball with distinction. “As a kid growing up, I looked up to the NBA stars like Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, but Kobe Bryant was exceptional when it comes to the game of basketball, “Jaiteh told The Chronicle.
‘’We’ve seen Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and other stars, but Kobe’s mentality that’s the #Mamba mentality is a different type of game that inspires young once like us. “I’m still in shock mood.