ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Fans across the globe are still in shock after the sudden death of NBA super star Kobe Bryant.
His life on and off of the court inspired many, including some in the Stateline.
“Growing up in the early 90’s, Kobe’s desire to win, and will to win effected me in pretty much every aspect of life,” said NBA Jr. coach Derek Carleton.
Carleton coaches aspiring basketball stars, a job he couldn’t wait to return to after the tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
“On social media I actually thought it was a joke, I really did. It seemed so surreal,” recalled Carleton.
He is one of millions of people across the country grieving Bryant’s death, despite never meeting him.
“You don’t know them as a person, but you know what they have done to effect your life,” said counselor Stephanie Yates. “You can grieve anything, the loss of a person, a pet, it’s all subjective.”
Yates says feeling grief for other people’s trauma is known as empathy.
“These are role models, they’re daydreams. It’s every middle schooler on a basketball court channeling their Kobe Bryant as they try to make the shot.”
Yates says celebrity deaths are a reminder of mortality, and that even the greatest most immortal figures can be killed. She says acceptance, and holding on to positive memories can pave the road to healing.
“Yelling out ‘Kobe’ at the last second, that probably will never die,” said Carleton.
Counselors say those in mourning should allow the moment of grief to be felt, but, if negative feelings don’t start to turn around — talking to a friend or mental health professional is the next best step.