Fans collect Lakers Kobe Bryant merchandise following tragic death

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Sports fans everywhere are paying tribute to Kobe Bryant. 

Kobe Bryant was just 41 years old when he was killed in the helicopter crash in California Sunday. Eight others were killed in the crash including his 13-year-old daughter. 

“It took a lot out of me because I watched when his career started and when something happened so young in his retirement it’s a tragedy,” said David Grant of Connecticut. 

At W& R Collectibles in the Eastfield Mall, local basketball fans have been buying Kobe trading cards and other memorabilia. The store owner told 22News there’s been a high volume of fans who visited his store on Monday. 

“When stuff happens with people like that it gets crazy, people want to come in and gobble everything up,” said Randy Schofield, owner. “We sold 40 or 50 sports cards right away. We still have a few of them left, not many but we still got some here.” 

Bryant played all 20 seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers and won 5 NBA championships. Kobe is the reason MarJain Howell became a Lakers fan. 

MarJain told 22News, “I became a Lakers fan because growing up I found out Kobe was drafted by the Lakers. The same here, I was born in 1996. That just made me want to be a Lakers fan because of Kobe.” 

Kobe is the all-time leading points leader for the Los Angeles Lakers with 33,643 points. He retired from basketball four years ago. 

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