Fans of basketball legend Kobe Bryant wept, prayed and remembered him Sunday outside his second home at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, as the world mourned his death in a helicopter crash."He was the mayor of LA to me," said Rene Sotomayor, a 46-year-old Riverside resident who was wearing a Lakers cap and a T-shirt with a picture of Bryant wearing a crown.
"A lot of people are saying today's the day that part of L.A. died," he said. "I know I'm going to shed a lot of tears in the days to come."Martina Araula, a 29-year-old Bellflower resident, said Bryant "had so much more that we were looking forward to."Basketball was done," she said. "We already accepted that, but he was still everywhere."
She said she looked up to Bryant growing up and that his relationship with his daughters was especially inspirational."The fact that he had daughters, and I was playing sports growing up and he was our icon, and the fact that he was trying to push that this was going to be your next icon and she was his daughter ... I just appreciated that he cared so much about women's sports," she said.
Julie Sierra, a 24-year-old Los Angeles resident, said she was struck by the memorial and the fans because of the deep emotion."One thing that I had really noticed is for the amount of people that are out here, it's silent," she said. "Everybody's in grief. Everybody's mourning.
Everybody has respect for this man and his family and his daughter. It's painful. We really lost somebody legendary today."William Anderson, a 30-year-old Long Beach resident, said that even though Bryant was from Philadelphia, "he is LA.""It's like Magic, Kobe. They're like, they're Mount Rushmore of L.A," he said. "They're our Mount Rushmore."