Millions of people around the world know Kobe Bryant as an athlete, a Laker, an Olympian, an ambassador of basketball and a Los Angeles icon.
But Kumi Tamura, 16, is also remembering Bryant as a mentor to young female athletes like herself.
She first met Bryant after attending his Kobe Camp at age 8.
“He’s my hero. Over the years, I’ve gotten to see him. He’s always mentored me and advised me,” Tamura said.
The lessons learned from Bryant apply both on and off the basketball court, she said.
Upon learning of Bryant’s death over the weekend, “I couldn’t stop crying,”‘ Tamura said. “When we found out Gianna was also in that helicopter on the way to the game, I was devastated.”
In addition to his basketball camps, Bryant also operated the Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park to provide guidance to young people. He was en route to a game at the center when his helicopter crashed in Calabasas, killing him, one of his four daughters and seven other people.