Fans deal with grief as they mourn Kobe Bryant - FOX34 Lubbock

Fans deal with grief as they mourn Kobe Bryant

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Kobe Bryan pictured with his 13-year-old, Gianna. Kobe Bryan pictured with his 13-year-old, Gianna.
LUBBOCK, Texas -

 Throughout his 20-year career, Kobe Bryan inspired generations of young athletes and aspiring leaders. His death can affect people who never met the legend.

"When I got to college, I actually changed my number to 24, in honor of Kobe Bryant, my favorite player ever," Al Duvall, of the Boys & Girls club, said.

Duvall is just one of so many others who looked up to Bryant.

He's part of the generation that grew up watching Bryant dominate the courts. For Duvall, it feels like losing a family member. 


Al Duvall pictured wearing his college uniform with the number #24, in honor of Bryant.


"Fans can really begin to identify and see a celebrity like Kobe Bryant as a role model, so a loss like this can greatly affect them. Because they look up to this individual, and almost consider them an important part of their identity too," Asst. Professor at Texas Tech and Counselor Nicole Nobel said.

The 41-year-old died when his helicopter crashed on Sunday morning in California. Eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were on-board. No one survived. 

"It doesn't seem real," Duvall said. "It still hasn't really settled in. It hits every now and then, you know, you look at TV, or check social media."

As the shock begins to wear off, the grief may linger. Professor Noble says the first step in coping is acceptance. 

"First acknowledging that pain, accepting that at times they may be triggered by things that they hadn't considered before," Nobel said.

She also recommends being patient with the healing process. 

"Trying to engage in activities that you once found pleasurable, seeking support, emotional support from others, trying to stay connected and not isolate yourself during this loss," she added.

Bryant's death has been significant not just for his biggest fans but also for the younger generations who may have never seen his accomplishments first-hand.

"Some of the kids had Kobe's name written on their sleeves, on their shoes and basketball number and things like that. They didn't get to really see Kobe like that because they're 11 and 12, but being basketball fans, his legacy will always live on," Duvall added.

For some, this week's tragedy has been motivation to work harder.

"I haven't played in three to four months, and I just started getting back into it and on the day Kobe passed away, me and my friends just started hooping again... trying to make sure Kobe's wisdom gets passed onto us. Hard work, mamba mentality," Tech sophomore Elie Maron said.

Professor Noble says another way to deal with the loss of someone is to talk to a professional counselor.

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