Kobe Bryant’s death impacts Greeley West community

Kobe and Gianna Bryant, pictured here from his Instagram page, died in a tragic accident on Sunday.  The Bryants' death impacted the Greeley West community.

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Kobe and Gianna Bryant, pictured here from his Instagram page, died in a tragic accident on Sunday. The Bryants' death impacted the Greeley West community.

Evan DeMeyer, Staff Writer

An athlete, role model, father figure, inspiration, MVP, five time champion, legend, and one of the best basketball players of all time passed away this week. Kobe Bryant has died at the age of 41. He was more than just a basketball player to many people but why is that? Bryant may have been far way from Greeley, Colorado, but that did not mean he didn’t make an impact on lives here.  

People all over the school have been impacted by this, even those who do not watch or play basketball. Junior Jackson Malson did not keep up much on basketball but can still feel the impact of the death of Bryant. “I did not watch a lot of basketball growing up or even now, but I can still see how much Kobe meant to other people and especially to this school,” Malson said. 

Malson played basketball in middle school and felt a sense of unease as students came back to school on Monday after the tragic event. “I saw plenty of Kobe jerseys and shoes all over the school as people paid their respects in their own way,” Malson said.  

Another student who has felt the loss of Bryant almost personally is Junior Bobby Briceno. “I grew up learning all about Michael Jordan from my dad and watched Kobe as I grew up. Kobe taught me what was called the ‘Mamba Mentality.’ It was a way of thinking that made you fearless and when I took that same method of thinking and applied it to my basketball game, I became even better,” Briceno said.

Briceno has modeled his game after many athletes, but he says Kobe played the biggest part. “I remember being in the gym and just trying my best to play the way he did. With a lot of shots going up and me yelling ‘Kobe.’ I knew that when he died, it felt like a part of me died too,” Briceno said.

Briceno is no longer a basketball player but still shows his love and respect for Bryant.

Students were not the only ones impacted by the loss of the legend. History teacher Mr. Ky Dietz felt that this loss was a shock and a wake up call into real life. “He was the greatest competitor ever since I’ve been alive. I didn’t watch much of Jordan, but I definitely grew up watching Kobe,” Dietz said.

Bryant was an icon and a role model to Dietz, but not just him, everyone across the world. “Even if you’re from Colorado and a Nuggets fan, you still admire Kobe because of how great he really was,” Dietz explained.

Dietz said that he will never forget Kobe and he will never forget where he was when he heard the news. “I was driving from my family’s home to Fort Collins and my wife said that he had died. I looked at her and said, ‘That can’t be real. You’re lying to me.’ And when I looked after I was driving and it turned out to be real,” Dietz said.

Dietz explained that he hopes people learn a valuable lesson. “I hope people realize that life is something you have to attack every day. My dad always told me that life is not a dress rehearsal and I hope people start to see it that way,” Dietz said.