LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Kobe Bryant was more than a household name to many people in Southern California.

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He was a neighbor to residents of Newport Beach, a legend to Lakers fans in Los Angeles and a role-model to young players at the Mama Sports Academy in Thousands Oaks. Kobe has touched the lives of so many. Maybe even you.

Over the past several weeks, fans have been sending in their memories of Kobe. Read some of them below.

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Carolyn Rios

Fans meet Kobe Bryant at a homeless walk event in Los Angeles. Undated photo. (Credit: Jack Richter from New York)

I grew up right down the street from the forum I remember watching Kobe playing basketball on tv he was an amazing  player & amazing father & husband he was LA.  My thoughts & prayers are with his family.  Learning about his passing as I was boarding a flight from Las Vegas I was hesitant about getting on but i did all i could think about that it wasn’t true & that his daughter was not with him but the reports were true and i was so heartbroken even to this day I cry like a baby I’m a 56 year old mother of 3 girls and I know my heart would be broken but losing your husband & baby girl hit me so hard.  I pray for Vanessa Natalia Bianka & Capri every night that they will be strong for each other during these v hard times ???? #ripmamba #ripgigi ????????

Cara Singh

I met my husband, Richie, 10 years ago. He came to the United States in late 1999 from India at 10 years old. He was having trouble transitioning into this life in a new country. He had trouble finding a connection. That’s when his cousins introduced him to the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant. And that was the season Kobe and Shaq won their first championship together. Our first date was to a Lakers game. I got him tickets so he could watch his idol up close. The first Valentine’s present I gave him was a Build-a-Bear German Shepherd wearing a Lakers uniform and I named it Kobe. We have a 5 year old boy, Aiden. He loves playing basketball and he always tells Kobe. He went to throw some trash away yesterday and started to yell Kobe but stopped. He looked so scared. He thought he was going to get in trouble because he knows Mommy and Daddy are sad. I told him, “Yell it louder baby.”  I have been lost trying to figure out why this hurts as bad as losing my grandmother last year. I didn’t even know Kobe. I wrote this:  This loss, Kobe and Gigi, is the one that hurts more than any other in our generation. The last big loss that affected the world in this way was Princess Diana. But this one hurts a million times more than that. Kobe wasn’t just a Laker. And we aren’t just his fans. We watched him grow up. We watched him find the love of his life. We watched him stumble and learn from his mistakes and grow even more. We watched him become a daddy. 4 times. We watched him be a friend. We watched him transition from student to teacher. And he did it so gracefully. We witnessed his legacy unfolding right before our eyes. His story became our story. He was more than a Laker. He was a piece of our soul. He was family. He gave us so much more than a window to witness his life through. It was tangible, the impact he had. And the grief, the piece of our soul that we lost, is just as tangible. And then Kobe and Vanessa trusted us to watch and love their girls. His princesses. And we were so lucky to see his Gigi out play her daddy. He always said she was better than he was at her age. Baby girl, you were really something special. And that’s exactly what you’ll always be. Vanessa, as a mother and a wife, I ache for you. Nany, Bianka and little Koko, no one loved you harder than your daddy and he always will. Wrapping you in warm hugs. This one hurts. The most.

Bobak Amuzegar
Woodland Hills

Honestly I have a million and I have no clue where to start because I am shattered beyond words. I know you’ve probably heard that from every single person mourning his death

A mural of Kobe Bryant painted by Laure Scott of Pacific Palisades.

but this is an out of body feeling and an emptiness and numbness that I never thought I would feel in my entire life. Knock on wood I haven’t really lost any immediate family members and thank god for that, but this truly feels like I lost a very close relative. All that being said I’ve been crying nonstop for 3 days and then remember the day that I went to Disneyland back in 2009. It was a random Thursday and my cousins and I just decided to go just to go for fun. When we got to Disneyland we were walking around and then I heard on the speakers that they are having a lakers parade for the championship they had just won. I lost my dam mind, because genuinely I had no clue. When we line up to see the parade and I realize that Kobe is the only one on the parade and coming towards us on the championship float, I literally went ape s—. I honestly couldn’t hold it together. I just kept screaming “it’s Kobe, it’s Kobe, holy s— it’s Kobe.” I honestly was going crazy and I couldn’t hold it together because of my joy. It was the greatest moment ever and we all started chanting “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, MVP, MVP, MVP” and then as he gets close to me he looks down at me and pounds his chest towards me, I LOST IT! I get goosebumps now as I’m writing this. He’s a once in a lifetime type player and truly a once in a lifetime type of person. He just embodied so much of what we all wanted and were about and he represented all of us because we watched him grow up. He meant everything to me and still means everything to me so I’m devastated and I’m shocked and saddened but I’ll cherish that memory forever and ever. May god be with his family and friends and all the other victims as well. #mambaout

Adrian Castillo

I am 38 and I grew up with Kobe, me and my friend Jerry would have our routine of watching laker games and eating Carl’s Jr. Lol. Kobe was my idol , he was my hero. Him passing away is like losing a family member. I always try imitate his life. He had daughters just like me, I even named my pets after him and Vanessa. Kobe and Gigi’s death will take along time for me to get over but I always keep them in my prayers. Kobe is and always will be my hero.

Sean Shadrick

Sean Shadrick from Lancaster, Calif.

I wouldn’t be who I am today without Kobe. His drive, work ethic and mental toughness was something I’ve admired since I was a child. Whenever times were tough in school, sports, work, or everyday life; I would think to myself, Mamba Mentality. Be tough. Fight like Kobe. He has always been someone I’ve looked up to and it feels like I lost a family member. He had a tremendous impact on my life and I’ll be forever grateful.

Marcy Onsurez

Kobe Bryant meant a lot to my son! Though my son Julian has been grieving since hearing of the tragic news Sunday he got back on the court Tuesday night. He and his team won and are 3-0!  He’s got the Mamba mentality… BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE!!!  ????????????????

Linda Luna
Boyle Heights

Kobe has been a staple in my upbringing. I can recall countless family gatherings to watch games and bbq together while watching Kobe Bryant make shots at the buzzard.  I remember growing up driving with friends to watch playoff games outside of staples center or at universal studios on the big screen during the summer while in the presence of hundreds of other Laker fans. When I had my son, the only boy in my family best believe he was wearing a Kobe Jersey right after he was born. He had the opportunity to go to a few Laker games to watch greatness play before he retired. Kobe has been around for generations in my family and we will continue to honor him way past forever.

Long Beach

We lost a great one, too soon, on Sunday, January 26, 2020. Yes, we also lost eight other people including Kobe’s daughter. His family will suffer greatly as well as the families of the other crash victims. But, let’s please not use this horrible tragedy as a platform for racial hatred against Kobe for his past indiscretions. That case was from 2003, over 15 years ago, and it is over. Kobe’s wife forgave him, the case was dropped and most everyone, but a few haters have moved on. Remember, no one is perfect, and the charges were dropped. Kobe made a bad judgment call, but it is over. We should not let that charge from over 15 years ago, cloud the great loss that the basketball world, Kobe’s family, the victims family, and the  NBA fans have suffered on January 26,2020. Can’t people give hate a rest during such horrific times? If you serve your time, the crime is supposed to be over. But, for some unfortunate people, it seems that even if you don’t serve any time, the stigma is going to follow you, and smear you, and everyone associated with you, for the rest of your life. These bullying, jealous, hateful, angry, vindictive, people need to give it a rest. No one is perfect, and before you judge others, look at your own imperfections. If we put you under a microscope what would we find? If you had women throwing themselves at you, what might you do wrong? If you had millions of dollars, what indiscretions might you get involved in? Should that taint the loss of your daughter and all her friends and your family for the rest of their lives and your own? Give hate a rest, please. RIP Kobe, daughter and friends. Prayers and condolences to the family of Kobe and the families of the other victims.

Patricia Johnson

Never met the young man. But regardless of who he or who the others were, it’s just a real tragedy whenever lives are lost. Loved Kobe because of his positive demeanor. Carried himself humbly and professionally. Condolences to  all of the families of the deceased. May God comfort and strengthen your hearts….

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Winston Gross
Mount Clemens

I remember when the Lakers were in the playoffs that was the best part about it I new a friend that was diehard Lakers fan  even on Sunday when they show all the games on Sunday we would stay up till the late game comes on at  10.00 pm  Michigan time I had to be at  work a 6.00 clock in the morning  remember when the Lakers were in the playoffs my coworkers  be betting half  of their paycheck on the game  I tape his last game in 2016

 Shahram Tehrani
Beverly Hills

Kobe Bryant inspires millions of fans around the world. His unmatched work ethic helped create the popular question: “What would Kobe do?”  Personally, I regularly ask myself this question when faced with a dilemma or need to make a decision. By pondering what Kobe would do in a given scenario, I can assure myself that I am not taking a shortcut, being lazy or cheating the system. Kobe’s determination and hard work continually makes me a better person, and needless to say will continue encouraging countless people around the globe.   Next time you need some guidance, ask yourself: “What would Kobe do?” More times than not, you will be lead in the right direction.

Jimmy Zendejas
San Bernardino

Watching and following Koby wanted me to be a better man and father to my 2 daughters. He unknowingly helped me alot. God bless everyone affected and yall will be in our prayers. Mamba up.

Debbie Schuster
Costa Mesa

My fiance, Mike O’Connor, has been reffing girls basketball for a couple decades now.  He is also a youth ref coordinator.  We live in Costa Mesa, which is close to where the Bryant’s live.  Mike has reffed many of Koby’s games, with his girls.  Last year, Kobe gave Mike two pairs of “Kobe” shoes to thank him for his service.  Mike has interacted with him many times and we, as well as the rest of the world, are devastated.  I have several pictures of Kobe and his daughters, and wife, at a game last year at Vanguard University, which is across from the street where we live, but need to figure out how to retrieve them from my phone.  Regards, Deb

Ian Aquino

Ian Aquino meets Kobe.

Oh man… I don’t even know where to start. 5 days since the tragedy, my family and friends are still in denial. We are mourning… the whole world is mourning. I do not know Kobe personally… but my friends and I have met him a couple of times these past 2 yrs; and I guess that’s why this is affecting us more than the average fan. The very first time I met him was in 2018 at his only known signing for his “Mamba Mentality” book. This was in Los Angeles… and it took my friends and I 4 days to shake his hands and say thank you for everything. Our family and friends thought we were crazy for staying on the streets of LA those days just to meet him. But now they realize how special he really is. It was all worth it! I made a video of our experience back then and I hope you guys watch it. This was in no means meant to be a tribute after his death… but I’ve been watching it lately a lot and feel really fortunate to have made that decision to meet him that time. About 500-600 people eventually showed up… and he only got to meet about half of that I believe. But yes, we were the very first fans who started the line for this event. Thank you in advance for watching. We really appreciate it… RIP to our hero…

Boris Kushnir

Heart brakes for every American and even illegals when live lost in any circumstances??  I know Koby from the bottom of his heart, especially as Catolic, think about others with hope it come back… And as I see millions of reactions not just in U.S. but around the world it’s proven we lost one of the icon America can be proud off!  Hope his immage, pain and sufferring of Venessa and her little dols will stay for generations to come as a reminder why every loss of live, no matter who you are, is a God given treasure, which I call HUMANITY!???

Eric Sepulveda

Just watching Kobe on the court, his understanding of the game,  knowing how to crush his opponent, expose the weaknesses in their armor,  their flaws,  knowing his teammates strengths and when it was time to strike… it was a thing of beauty that only a select few before him could even attempt to accomplish.   Don’t get me wrong it could be ugly at times, but so was the duckling.    Those were the moments that you knew as a fan that Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba was going to strike,  waiting for that moment,  the moment that ugly duck became the black mamba and struck that killing blow,  that moment your hands are on your head,  mouth dropped open,  looking at the person to your right or left, whether they were friend or foe, shaking your head in disbelief of the feat he just pulled off, that miracle on the court…   As I heard the news of the accident and sat watching my television in disbelief waiting for Kobe, his daughter and all the other people on that flight with him to emerge unscathed,  waited for that miracle,  I knew deep down inside this was a miracle that he couldn’t pull off.   At 41, so young, with so much more to offer, Kobe Bryant lost this battle.  His legacy will fight on in his stead, where his physical limitations can no longer help him and without a doubt, will ultimately triumph.   Humanity lost a great person,  not because of his incredible athleticism and talent, but rather because of his ability to inspire,  his insatiable desire to strive to be the best he could be,  pushing those around them to be their best and not just settle because it was comfortable… or good enough, but to become the best you,  so you in turn, could push others to be the best them.  He was an inspiration that let us know through his example,  we as people,  can accomplish anything we want to,  whatever we put or mind to… as long as we don’t settle for good enough.  We can transform into, rather,  become our own swan.   Kobe Bryant’s swan was The Black Mamba.  Some always said Kobe shot the ball to much and that he wasn’t a team player but once again, not in the way anyone had ever hoped,  he proved his critics wrong only like he could and passed.

Felipe Cardona

My sister called me to invited me to a TV show called the Talk. I was skeptical about going until she told me who was going to be the guest star, KOBE BRYANT!!! This was my chance to finally see the Black Mamba outside of a TV screen. It was raining that day and LA traffic was at its worst. I was seconds away from turning round and going home, thinking I was not going to make the show in time. We stuck it out for another hour in traffic and thankfully, made it in the Knick of time! Emotion ran high and I was very nervous to see him just feet away from me. When they announced his name, my nerves grew, my eyes tears up.There he was was, up close and personal. We were told to be quiet while they film the show, but I couldn’t hold back my excitement; this was my chance to shoot my Kobe shot, to ask the question all of LA was thinking. They asked Kobe what his plans were after retirement. I tried to get a answer by screaming out “Coach LA”! He looked at my direction and Even though he said “No, no, no..” I’m glad I was able to make him smile and laugh. the audience cheered and without realizing it, the cameras had peered in my direction. I’m glad I said it because this memory will stick with me for the rest of my life. Even though he will never get to live out my dream to see him Coach the Lakers, I got to share a unique moment with my hero, my idol. R.I.P  Kobe “Black Mamba”Bryant & GIGi “Mambacita”

Trendell Gholar

Goat… I was a huge fan of celtics & KG when i was & my twin brother CJ loved the Lakers & Kobe, and every time i watched Lakers play whether it was against Celtics or not Kobe was just literally take over the game , make ridiculous 3’s from top of key or side, fadeaways, his whole game was unique & i ended up loving his game so much i became a fan of him just because it was so exciting to watch him, he was clutch no matter if he missed , His heart & passion for the game we just dont see it anymore

Kristen Mason

Kobe Bryant and The Lakers was a huge part of me navigating my 20s. I’m so blessed living in Los Angeles to be able to attend over ten games to see Kobe play. I would race home from work to catch the exciting series of our Three Rings we took home. Los Angeles have these great memories and history Kobe and Lakers created. I stayed out of trouble following sports.  My family is all from Boston and I would visit my family proudly wearing my Laker gear proudly. Everyone knew Kobe was my favorite and the drive he showed us was inspirational.  The name Kobe is in our house constantly. We adopted a kitty 11 years ago named him Kobe. He would jump so high and take these daring moves like Kobe Bryant.  Kobe’s Legend will life on in our hearts of Southern California.

Bert Beechem
Los Angeles

At seventeen, a ballers dream, The kid could really play, From high school to the pros He’s God’s gift to L.A.  It was clear, we held him dear, A cut above the rest, His work, his drive, his inner pride. He gave his personal best.  Across the nation, a B-ball Jedi, Like Obi-Wan Kenobi,  There may never come another man, As the legend known as, KOBE.

Brian Barber

My Kobe Bryant memory was when they lost the 2007 2008 NBA Finals to Boston…..I knew that they would win the 2008 2009 NBA finals cause on September 23rd, 2008, I named my daughter Kobianna Lynn Barber after one of the Greatest Lakers in history. After the tragedy on Jan 26th, she was so upset, I told my daughter that she now has 2 more Guardian Angles since her name had a combination of Kobe and Gianna…. she was all SMILES after that.

Jerry Edmond
Los Angeles

Making Kobe the logo posthumous is insignificanct, it would have been nice if he were recognized for being a great example for youger players. . The media and even other players hated on Kobe. The media hated him to the point of robbing him of multiple MVPs then turned around and used “he’s only eon 1 MVP argument to diminish him. People like @getnickwright @marcelluswiley @chrisbroussard68 @jasonwhitlocksfy @robparkerfs1 @darthamin made it their mission to undermine Kobe’s accomplishments. ?????? they called him showboat, selfish, phony, they even questioned his blackness, he was not hood enough, @stephencurry30 is experiencing the same issue to a much lower degree. #shameful

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