Kobe Bryant's high school teammates reflect on NBA star off the court

LOWER MERION TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Kobe Bryant's former Lower Merion High School teammates reflect on the man he was off the court.

Mark Weinberg was a senior on the Lower Merion High School basketball team when Kobe Bryant was a junior.

That team did not win a state championship, and three months after that season ended, Kobe wrote in Weinberg's yearbook that he blames himself.
Reading from Kobe's hand-written message, Weinberg says, "I'm sorry that we didn't go further this year. I should've taken over the game from the giddy-up."

And Weinberg says a year later, Kobe called him on the phone the night before he led Lower Merion to a state title.

VIDEO: Kobe Bryant's 1996 announcement to skip college, enter NBA
EMBED More News Videos

Watch Kobe tell the world he's going pro

In fact, Weinberg was not the only one he called.

"He took the time the night before they won to call the guys who graduated, in college, and say this one is for you. What other 17-year-old thinks to do that?" recalled Weinberg.

Guy Stuart, who graduated with Weinberg, got a call that night, too.

That's why Stewart says Kobe's legacy goes far beyond basketball.
In fact, the way he treated his children is a truer measure of the man.

EMBED More News Videos

Kobe Bryant inspired a generation of basketball players worldwide with sublime skills and an unquenchable competitive fire.

"I always admired him for kind of how he looked at his girls, treated his girls, he always wanted the best for them and his family," Stewart said.

These former teammates say they're not just mourning the death of a sports icon, they cry for the loss of a good guy, who loved his family and poured his life and everything that was near and dear to him.

Wiping tears from his eyes, Stewart says Kobe's death is, "Such a huge loss for everybody and my thoughts and prayers go out to Vanessa and the girls."
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.