'I am shaken’: Local Kobe Bryant fans express their grief after NBA legend’s tragic death

'I am shaken’: Local Kobe Bryant fans express their grief after NBA legend’s tragic death

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The surprising and unexpected death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant has left people around the world shocked and saddened.

Although many people didn’t personally know the NBA star, the grief is still real.

From the East Coast to the West Coast to right here in Mississippi, people are feeling the momentous loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

“I mean it was tragic,” said one local Kobe Bryant fan.

Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, were killed Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Since the news broke, social media has been flooded with comments along with millions of mourners.

“I feel bad. I didn’t go to work that day,” said a Lakers fan.

“It just threw me. To see someone of that stature leave here at such a young age. I am shaken,” said a Jackson resident.

Crossroads Counseling director Perry Sanderford and therapist Stephanie Smith-Jefferson say the sadness that many people feel is not unusual.

“You’re human, we grieve, we feel for people. When you see someone who’s hurting any kind of way, you grieve for them,” said Smith-Jefferson.

"It’s a national hero and we all relate in some way. We all have family, we have loved ones and that is our greatest is to lose them,” said Sanderford.

They also point to the strong power of human connection when dealing with grief -- even for people we never met.

“You have a whole family that was on the plane, and other people who were on the plane, so it’s a lot of people. But it is highlighted because it’s Kobe Bryant, but also his daughter, so just think about his wife last night on her husband but she lost her child too. That’s a lot of grievance there,” said Smith

The therapists share healthy ways to cope with the grief.

“Don't try to shut it off, expressive talk with people about it, pray for the family, pray for yourself what are you feeling. Going to shower from it because it is normal,” said Smith-Jefferson.

“The preciousness of life, loving your loved ones and being aware of them moment-to-moment,” said Sanderford.

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