WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Kobe Bryant captured the hearts of many Texomans, and they will carry on the ‘Mamba mentality’ throughout their lives.
Tre Jones said the news of Byrant’s death Sunday shocked him but his son will forever know the name, Kobe Bryant.
“One thing that people know about Kobe, they say ‘Mamba mentality,'” Jones said. “When you hear that, you think of getting up early, do what you have to do, staying up late and doing what you have to do and just don’t ever limit yourself, and I want him to grow up and have that ferociousness.”
Jones has spent many years looking up to Bryant.
“I never knew him personally but you grow up idolizing someone and I mean I named my first child after him,” Koby Bryant Texoma superfan Tre Jones said.
4-month-old Jakobe Jones goes by Kobe. His father Tre wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Once this is all over, you kinda keep celebrating him, let his legacy live on because for my generation he was the greatest of all time,” Jones said.
Jones’ first memories of Bryant date back to junior high when his uncle introduced him to the Los Angeles Lakers.
“From that moment on Kobe Bryant was like my idol in the sports world, I had his very first shoes when they came out, I had his jerseys, I had shirts, shorts, I had books, pretty much anything that you could think of that was Kobe Bryant,” Jones said.
Rider High School men’s basketball coach Kliff McGuire also weighed in on this tragedy that has struck the sport he loves.
“Guys my age and around every time you shoot something in the trash can or in the sink it’s ‘Kobe’ so it inspired a lot of people, a whole generation,” McGuire said.
Mcguire said what Bryant did for the sport is unmatched.
“One of the major things is losing his daughter who was such an up and coming star and everything that he’s done for the sport,” McGuire said. “The women’s game as well as he was one of the main ones in the first with the overseas and China and really spreading the game of basketball worldwide.”
The Lakers retired Bryant’s jersey numbers 24 and 8. Jones hopes his own Kobe will take one of those numbers to the court someday.
“The name Kobe Bryant will never die, whether it be in my household or anywhere in the sports world.”
Although Jones never got the chance to meet Bryant, he did get to see his very last away game.