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Washington coach recalls Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s inspiring visit to high school team

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CASHMERE, Wash. -- A local coach is reflecting on his team's recent encounter with legendary basketball star Kobe Bryant.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who were two of nine people killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, visited a high school gym in Cashmere, Wash. to watch the girl's basketball team.

After the game, Kobe took time to talk directly with the team and made it personal.

"He talked about the mentality of winning and what it takes to be mentally tough," said coach Brent Darnell. "Just was really positive with our kids."

Cashmere's Hailey Van Lith, one of the top recruits in the country, traveled to Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in California, where she became friendly with Kobe and Gianna.

Kobe promised he'd attend of Hailey's games, and it's a promise he kept.

"He's the type of guy, you meet him one time, you talk to him for a couple of minutes and you feel like you've known your whole life," Darnell said. "He's that genuine and that kind and that respectful."

The 41-year-old NBA legend died in a helicopter crash under foggy conditions in Calabasas, Calif. The helicopter crashed into a hillside, killing all nine people on board.

The group was traveling to a girl's basketball game in Thousand Oaks, Calif. at the Mamba Sports Academy.

The loss is being felt especially hard by Seattle Storm star Jewell Lloyd, who looked up to Kobe and then trained with him.

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You molded me. It wasn’t just about basketball, but about how I can make a bigger impact on the world. I’m going to miss our talks. The talks we had about Gigi & how she was the mini version of you. How it scared you because she already had your drive at such a young age. The talks about the passion you had to grow the game and develop young talent. I’m going to miss the way you challenged my mind and pushed me out of my comfort zone. The support and encouragement you always gave me. My heart goes out to Vanessa and the rest of your family. I’m praying for them as well as the other families involved. You always talked about focus and how to keep moving no matter what is thrown at you. Kobe wasn’t just my muse, he was my family. He not only gave me wisdom, he gave me the name Mamba. Mamba is not just a word, it’s a way of life. We don’t quit and we don’t cower; we endure and conquer. I’ll miss you Kobe.

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"I'm going to miss our talks," Lloyd wrote on Instagram. "Kobe wasn't just my muse, he was my family. He not only gave me wisdom, he gave me the name Mamba. I'll miss you Kobe."

CNN Newsource contributed to this story

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