•“I mean it is unexplainable, it’s unexpected, heartbreaking,” said Ivy Smith Jr., who is the starting point guard on Grambling State’s men’s basketball team. “He is the MJ of our generation. My dad is a huge fan, I’m a fan,” the senior from Tacoma, Washington, said. “I hope his wife, daughters and those closest to him pull through this tragedy.”
•“When I first heard of Kobe’s passing, I kind of went back to my 10-year-old self who was wearing his No. 8 jersey,” Imani Williams, a senior mass communication major from Los Angeles, Calif., said. “He was the only player in the league that I actually followed, and L.A. lost a legend.”
•“I didn’t believe it, it seemed unreal,” senior Rudolph Valentine said. “For someone like Kobe Bryant to die in such a tragic way, had to be a hoax. I shed a couple of tears when I came to the realization that it was true.”
Valentine’s grief extended beyond the NBA superstar’s death.
“I am such a huge basketball fan and I grew up watching Kobe, so his death hit close to home. Then I thought about his daughter Gigi, because I’ve been watching her turn into a star on the basketball court. So it hurt me even more to find out she was on the helicopter with him,” said the mass communication major.
•“Kobe’s death was sad,” Natalie Dawson, a junior child development major at GSU, said. “It hurt a lot of people, a lot of black men.”