Inspired community pays tribute to Kobe

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Attendees had the chance to shoot some hoops after the screening. Pic ©Jose Ruiz JMU Journalism

A Scouse sporting community in mourning hosted its own Kobe Bryant tribute day, to remember the basketball icon who passed away in a helicopter accident last month.

Fans of the retired LA Lakers legend gathered at Toxteth TV to share their favourite moments of the player whilst watching clips from his life, including his Oscar-winning short film, ‘Dear Basketball’.

The event, which took place on Sunday, was organised by VideOdyssey, and paid tribute to the NBA star. After viewing the memoir on the big screen, some emotional attendees opened up about how Kobe impacted their lives.

After the movie, attendees were encouraged to play ball in a session led by coach Michael Embaye, where players got to showcase of some of their best skills.

Organisers Andy Johnson and Dave Hargreaves spoke to JMU Journalism, sharing their feelings on the day.

Andy said: “He’s been a massive inspiration for basketball across the world. I think looking back at it now, because we are of the same age group, the fact that he was such a good dad and role model is also inspiring.”

YouTube: Jose Ruiz

Speaking about the tribute, Dave said: “We are here celebrate his life and not focus too much on the death, but rather his influence and what the ‘Mamba’ mentality means. If someone is inspired today, that’s great.

“It did feel like our generation were the first ones to play basketball, but I know that we weren’t, but it was always important especially in my agenda to make sure that we pass the game on.”

Co-organiser Mr Hargreaves added: “I think its getting more popular especially with America not being as dominant in the Olympics.

“There’s more of an international spotlight on the game. It is a good natural step but I also think we need more quality coaching and community projects.”

About Jose Ruiz, JMU Journalism