Utah Jazz fans are mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant. Sunday afternoon a memorial with flowers, candles and memorabilia started to grow outside Vivint Smart Home Arena for the late star.
“He was a big part of my life,” said Nicholas Nottingham. “My idol really.”
Nottingham dressed in his Kobe Bryant Lakers jersey came to pay his respects. He shares what wearing the jersey means to him.
“It’s just a tangible manifestation of standards I set for myself.”
Lester Payton, who works with Utah Jazz security, reflects on his favorite Kobe moment at the arena.
It was in 2002 when Payton says Kobe was in the middle of scoring 40 points a game in a row.
“He hit a shot,” recalls Payton. “You see it in slow motion. You go ‘oh, my goodness!’ This is really slow motion!”
Fans say while they’ll always remember Kobe’s big games against the Jazz, his respect for the game and work ethic is what they admired most.
“It hits us hard because a lot of us grew up with Kobe and he was larger than life,” said Richard Devine, a Jazz fan.
“I still to this moment I don’t believe it’s real,” said Jazz fan Sam Barlow. “I heard his daughter was in there too and that’s something that crushes your heart.”
With broken hearts, fans hope Kobe’s legacy will inspire others to be great.
Payton shares, “I asked my grandmother if there will ever be anyone like Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and she says I hope so. So, for everyone who looked up to Kobe Bryant, I hope one of you is going to be the next great one because the world needs it.”
Fans say they will always remember what Kobe Bryant did for the game of basketball.