Lower Merion's Gregg Downer reflects on Kobe's legacy ahead of NBA HOF induction

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Friday, May 14, 2021
Kobe's coach ahead of HOF induction: 'This is his pinnacle moment'
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"This is his pinnacle moment," said Lower Merion's Gregg Downer, who was Kobe Bryant's high school basketball coach. The NBA legend will be inducted into the NBA HOF this weekend.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Not long into his storied career, it was pretty obvious to everyone that the NBA Hall of Fame was where Kobe Bryant was headed. What nobody could have imagined is that he wouldn't be here to see it.

"This is his pinnacle moment. This is what he wanted for a long time, and it would be very easy to look at this traumatically and from a sad perspective, but I'm very proud of him. I hope he's looking down and feeling a lot of the same pride," said Gregg Downer, Kobe's high school basketball coach at Lower Merion.

Downer will be there this weekend to watch as the most legendary Ace of all time is inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

SEE ALSO: NBA Hall Of Fame: Counting down Kobe's greatest moments ahead of induction

I asked Coach Downer, "If Kobe were alive today, how much would he be relishing in what's about to happen?"

"Just a 10 out of 10. To see (Michael) Jordan put him in, and all the electricity that surrounds that, to see his four daughters, family, parents, sisters, just would be an amazing moment," said Downer.

Bryant's influence is far-reaching. In fact, his legacy in Philadelphia can even be traced to the success of today's Sixers thanks to his play in the 2010 NBA Finals, where a 16-year-old kid in Cameroon discovered the beauty of this game.

SEE ALSO: Gregg Downer, Kobe Bryant's former high school coach, reflects on life of NBA legend

"And they won that year, that was the first time I watched, and that was also when I fell in love with basketball. That's why he became my favorite player. I mean, I will say that I am probably here because of him," said Embiid.

And while this weekend he'll only be there in spirit, inside basketball's hallowed halls, Kobe Bryant will live on forever.

"He wanted to be one of the greatest ever and Saturday's gonna put a stamp on that," said Downer.