LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The focus has shifted on Kobe Bryant Sunday. Many people said although they may not be Lakers fans here in Arkansas, Bryant was a legend they all respected.
“I actually didn’t believe it,” basketball fan Paul Hickman said.
Disbelief and utter shock for many people Sunday.
“It’s real sad to me,” Lorena Keeling, who watched Bryant growing up said. “I’ve been following sports for so long with my kids and my husband, their big fans.”
Arkansans react after learning the news about Kobe Bryant’s sudden death.
“Lost a great NBA player, and great person,” fan Steve Carlisle said.
“He didn’t even get to enjoy his retirement and that time to spend with his daughters,” big basketball fan Paul Hickman said. “I mean it’s just very sad, it’s way too early.”
Fans said it set a sad tone here in Little Rock.
“Kobe Bryant is a pioneer in the game, it’s hard to lose him,” Laker fan Larry Newman said.
Many people checking social media on their phones and crowding bars to learn the latest about the crash.
Former NBA players taking to Twitter reacting, like:
Little Rock Native and Bryant’s former teammate, Derek Fisher tweeting “Struggling to process what is now a reality. Kobe’s life after basketball was just beginning and his second act was going to be even greater. His legacy, Gigi’s legacy both will live on forever!”
Scottie Pippen, an NBA All-Star from Arkansas posted, “I’m stunned. Words can’t even come close to describing it. Just an incredibly sad and tragic day.”
Razorback head coach, Eric Musselman said “This is one of the saddest days for the basketball world I can ever remember.”
Hickman said it’s sad how this happened, with Bryant still being young.
“He’s top five player of all time, and I mean just some of the things he done are just untouchable in the basketball world,” Hickman said.
Longtime fans said his legacy will live on.
“Rest in peace mamba, the fiercest to ever play it,” Hickman said. “You’ll bounce back Lakers nation.”
“Just know that we will never forget you. Kobe Bryant number 8, number 24 we always here with you,” Newman said.