Chicagoans mourn death of NBA star Kobe Bryant

He may not have grown up in Chicago or played for a Chicago team, but fans near a United Center bar and beyond were grieving for Kobe Bryant Sunday night right along with fans in L.A.

On a basketball court in the Tri Taylor neighborhood, they had a tough time getting through practice.

“We’re like ok, this is a joke, this is a joke, we’re fine, it’s TMZ, yea, and then we found it was true and it’s, it’s hard, ya know. Two girls left. They just, they couldn’t handle it which I understand,” said Dani Seitz, basketball player.

Dani Seitz and the others practiced with heavy hearts at Quest Multisport.

“I came to practice and I said to the girls, ‘cause everyone was really down and we almost cancelled, but you know, it’s better to be together,” said Seitz.

Bryant retired four years ago, well before these guys got started on the court, yet he’s a legend in their hearts.

“Well Michael Jordan and Kobe, they’re like one of the best and there’s not that many people better than them,” said Joshua Ruiz, 13.

“They inspire me because I just want to be like them. I think they’re really good,” said Avery Chan, 11.

“I was really sad because like he’s a big inspiration to me. He’s like one of my favorite players,” said Lorenzo Pina, 11.

“Today was definitely hard to get ready to come and teach the game, but these are the days that Kobe would’ve been in the gym, right? So, that’s what we have to take from it,” said coach Dan Schlossberg.

Schlossberg said as practice began, so did the whispers about the crash. He took some time to talk to his team about Kobe, how he lived life on and off the court.

“I mean he approached all of his stuff even after basketball just as intensely and that’s what it takes to be successful and to be one of the best, so,” Schlossberg told his team.

Kobe was one of those guys who could motivate you to do better. That’s what Brittany Henry thinks about subscribing to his podcasts.

“Just like listening to podcasts in which he’s talked about his game and his approach to things and just that like hunger that he had throughout his career to just be the best was, it’s unfortunate to lose a thought leader,” said Henry.

We also heard from Mayor Lightfoot today. She tweeted that she’s saddened by the death of one of the NBA’s legends who inspired fans with his drive and passion.