"He just had a different focus. He worked on his game, he wanted to be the best," said Dorsey Jackson, who was Kobe's barber from the time he moved to Lower Merion from Italy to his last cut before he went pro.
"I'm going to remember the KB that went to Lower Merion. Every time you went to a game it was sold out," said Jackson.
At LaSalle University, the coaching staff is mourning.
"We were around each other a lot. His Uncle Chubby Cox and my dad would play pickup games on Sunday mornings," said head coach Ashley Howard.
And assistant coach Donnie Carr, a Roman Catholic alum, was Kobe's arch-rival from eighth grade throughout high school. It was during this 1995 high school game where Carr outscored Kobe. Something the superstar did not forget.
"He said, do I want my rematch man, I want my rematch. I gotta see you again you got me but I want my rematch. He was serious but joking at the same time," recalled Carr.
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Kobe's father coached at LaSalle and recruited Carr from high school. As the years went by, Kobe did not forget the people who helped him, he even mentioned Carr in his retirement speech.
"I didn't know Black Mamba because obviously he became an icon, but I knew Kobe B. We were contemporaries and good friends. I'm just deeply saddened for his family," said Carr.