Fresno Basketball Team Set To Play Kobe Bryant’s Daughter Ahead Of Fatal Crash: ‘We Walked Into The Gym And Everyone Was On Their Knees And Praying’

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo via Reuters

Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
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A youth Fresno basketball team was all set to take the court and play Kobe Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, when they learned the news of the fatal crash.

“We walked into the gym and everyone was on their knees and praying,” former Fresno State Basketball player and coach of the Fresno Lady Heat 14-underteam Demetrius Porter shared with the Fresno Bee in a piece published Sunday. (RELATED: NBA Legend Kobe Bryant, 41, Killed In Helicopter Crash)

“(My girls) were crying and in disbelief,” he added. “They were excited to play against Kobe Bryant’s daughter and take a picture with him and this tragic event happened.” (RELATED: ESPN Releases Emotional Video Honoring Kobe Bryant After His Tragic Death)


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Porter talked about how his boys and girls team had traveled to Los Angeles on Saturday and even got to meet Bryant that afternoon, a day before the fatal crash.

Pictures shared on the coach’s Facebook show the kids posing for a great snap with the five-time NBA Champion.

“He [Kobe Bryant] was standing there and he said ‘let me run to the bathroom real quick,'” Porter explained. “He came out and signed autographs and took pictures with my son and his teammates and my girls team.”

The Fresno team was scheduled to play Bryant’s team at 2pm during the Amateur Athletic Union tournament at Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy on Sunday when news broke that the NBA legend, his 13-year-old daughter and 7 others were killed in a helicopter crash in southern California.