Remembering Kobe Bryant at his favorite Philly cheesesteak shop

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- From his days as a high school basketball phenom to his time as an NBA superstar, a cheesesteak shop in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia remained a favorite of Kobe Bryant.

There was no shortage of people with memories of "Black Mamba" at Larry's Steaks on Sunday evening.

The 18-time NBA all-star died in a helicopter crash in the hills above Calabasas, California, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, sources said.

Sources also tell ABC News and ESPN that Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also among those killed.

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NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and three others were killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Sunday, his sudden death at age 41 touching off an outpouring of grief for a star whose celebrity transcended basketball.

Authorities said nine people were on the helicopter and that all were presumed dead. No names were officially released.

At Larry's Steaks, all eyes were glued to the TV as customers tried to make sense of the news.

"I didn't even want to believe it at first," Isiah Strickland said. "But then I seen it kept coming through my phone."

"How can you even feel inspired about the rest of the NBA season? It seems to overshadow the rest of the season. It's so sad," said Bill Hopkins.

Kobe didn't even need to be in town to get a taste of his favorite steak.

"We send it by mail for him," said Moataz Ebied. "We'd freeze it and send it to him."

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Since Tuesday night's game is expected to be Bryant?s last here, Philadelphia fans have been hoping to get a glimpse of him around Center City, where he is staying.

He's even pictured on the menu. Workers say he was kind every time he was there.

"Very nice person, friendly, kindly. Loves everybody, take a picture with everybody," said Abdel Hassan.

But for so many, Bryant wasn't just basketball royalty, he was royalty outside of the game.

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His playing career and life off the court - things like the humbleness you'd see in him at Larry's - was the true inspiration.

"He was a role model. That's how you sum it up. On and off the court - just a true legend," said Strickland.

"It's not just about his basketball playing, he was just a positive figure. Just so much to this community. Not just inspiring to play basketball but just to be good people," said Hopkins.
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