When I was in high school Kobe Bryant was a new rookie taking the professional basketball world by storm. What I found interesting at the time was the man was only a few years older than me. It always fascinated me how a young man could break out into super stardom at such a young age.

Basketball was one of the few things my dad and I had in common. Even during those difficult rebellious teen years when we had nothing to talk about, we could sit and watch a basketball game.

A friend of mine was probably the biggest Kobe fan I ever met. He wore nothing but Kobe jerseys and shorts. He even wore one to his wedding. More than just a passion for basketball, my friend was a caring and community-centered person just like we have come to know of Kobe. My friend was the type to buy extra groceries in order to keep his cupboards full so nobody in the neighborhood would go hungry.

He stood beside many people in the community and had a listening ear.

Sadly, my friend fell stricken with Huntington’s Disease and died at a young age. He left behind a daughter he never got to know. His last wish was to meet the legend he idolized which he did shortly before Bryant retired from basketball.

Kobe impacted so many lives.