BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Kobe Bryant played his entire professional career as a Los Angeles Laker. His legacy and impact was felt throughout the entire state of California and especially in Bakersfield, making the reports of his death emotional for many.
He played here during Lakers' pre-season games, most recently in 2007. It was a game against the Seattle SuperSonics when he put on a scoring display, going for 20 with 12 straight at one point. He left the court with chants of "Kobe."
"Here in Bakersfield you're playing with a lot of these young guys at the park, you see his game, you see his game constantly," Larry Walker, a Bakersfield native, said. "It's a big impact and I know a lot of them are sad right now."
Wright was playing pickup basketball at Silver Creek Park on Sunday afternoon, just hours after the news of Kobe's death. He says he will do his best to continue to teach younger kids about the legend of Kobe Bryant.
"I'm old now, but I'm going to try and do it through the game. A lot of these guys, you'd be surprised when they were in diapers, they were watching," he said.
Cal State Bakersfield head coach Rod Barnes was at church when the news broke.
"Playing all of his career here for one team in California, I think it means a lot to not only Lakers fans but people here in Bakersfield," he said. "He was one of the greatest Lakers."