ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — Cell phone video shows the moment Lane Madrid and her mom Kristen will never forget. After all, there’s only one first time meeting Kobe Bryant.
“For him to even take the time to talk to her after the game where she played against his daughter was amazing,” Kristen Madrid said.
The meeting happened in July 2019 in Southern California when Lane’s travel team played against Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna’s team. The video shows the Los Angeles Lakers legend and future Hall of Famer giving Lane some pro tips.
Now, that six-month-old recording is now heartbreaking to watch.
Kobe, 41, and his daughter Gianna were among the nine people who died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday.
“It was very hard for me especially, I felt a close bond with him in a way,” Lane Madrid said. “And for him to be taken from us so soon and especially his daughter as well, it’s very devastating.”
Kristen Madrid said, “We were just initially really shocked. We didn’t want to believe it was true. We thought hopefully it was a hoax.”
Aside from talking to Bryant in-person and online, Madrid’s entire Roseville High School girls’ basketball team now shares a connection to Kobe.
Kobe and his wife Vanessa donated $5,000 to their program in December. Madrid’s coach told CBS13 it’s a bittersweet moment having this off-the-court connection.
“We can say Kobe thought of us. But our hearts and our minds are more focused on the loss for his family,” Allan Darte, Roseville High School girls’ basketball coach, said.
Madrid said the word of wisdom she learned from the man with the mamba mentality was repetition. It’s advice she’ll carry with her and will drive her forever.
“I really took that to heart. Now that he’s gone it just means a lot more,” Lane Madrid said.
Darte said the plan is to dedicate a possible playoff run to Kobe for the inspiration and donation he gave to the team.
Kristen Madrid said she hopes Bryant’s legacy for helping to do more for women’s basketball will continue.