ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) Kobe Bryant's sudden passing has been felt throughout the country and here in Rockford. However, his legacy and impact on the game of basketball will not be soon forgotten.
Rock Valley College women's basketball coach Darryl Watkins was in Milwaukee, watching former Hononegah great Jordan King and Marquette pick up a big conference win against Villanova when he got the news. He said he was hurt and shocked just like many others.
Bryant wanted to see the game of women's basketball continue to grow. He coached his 13-year-old daughter Gianna's AAU team. Gianna was also killed in the plane crash that took eight other lives.
Watkins said he preaches to his team Bryant's "Mamba Mentality" of competing every day with a target on your back.
"What he believes in, what he preaches on a daily basis of a Mamba Mentality, to go out there and compete every single second, minute, of not only of your basketball career but of your life,"
"There are so many things that I've taken from him. From on the court, to teaching some of the kids to, my every day life as a coach," said Watkins. "Just to have that competitive nature, that fire. You don't see that too much anymore. When you get certain people, that bring that out or you can bring that out in someone every single day, it's a proven point; your success is going to come from it."
Bryant and Gianna leave behind their wife and mother Vanessa, and daughters and sisters Natalia, Bianka and Capri.