Michiana residents react to loss of Kobe Bryant

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Michiana residents mourned the loss of 41-year-old NBA legend Kobe Bryant on Sunday.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning in Calabasas, California.

Kobe and Gianna were on the way to Gianna’s basketball game when the helicopter crashed. Nine people were aboard the flight, including the pilot, and there were no survivors.

“Very unfortunate event,” said Gerardo Martinez, a South Bend resident.

“It’s a sad day for everybody,” said Chris Martins, an Osceola resident.

Local residents remembered Bryant on Sunday evening just hours after learning of his passing.

“He was a legend to me,” said Curtis Bethel, a long-time fan of Kobe Bryant. “One of my favorite players of all time.”

Bryant was a legend to many local Notre Dame players as well, mentoring several players on both the men’s and women’s basketball teams over the years, including current Irish guard Rex Plfueger.

Plfueger took to Instagram to post a photo in memory and tweeting “My Goat... I love you Kobe, thank you for everything.”

Notre Dame Football players Braden Lenzy and Ian Book also took to Twitter on Sunday to pay tribute

“I think it’s a really sad day, obviously for his family and it’s kind of a great loss for the sport,” said Martins. “I mean he was really one of the top players of his era.”

Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg also remembered Bryant on the campaign trail Sunday.

“This is somebody who affected so many fans and supporters, and it’s very difficult to believe,” said Buttigieg.

Michiana residents all agreed that Bryant will leave a lasting legacy.

“He definitely left a mark,” said Martinez.

Long-time fan Curtis Bethel sported a Bryant jersey on Sunday in memory.

Bryant was exactly what the NBA represents and we have really lost an icon, according to Bethel.

“We lost a great teacher,” said Bethel. “We lost somebody who studied the game, who knows the game…who is a scientist, architect of basketball. Any flaw that he had, he worked on. He wanted to be the best and he strived at not doing anything, but being the best and that’s why I have so much heart and admiration for him.”

Share this article: