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Helena high school basketball coaches influenced by Kobe Bryant

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Posted at 10:17 PM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-28 11:57:48-05

HELENA -- The world is still in shock that Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others are dead as a result of a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 in southern California.

Bryant's legacy on the court is one that will be revered for ages, and it was Bryant's demeanor on the court that Helena Capital boys head coach Guy Almquist wants to see in his team.

"Just being relentless on both sides of the floor. Those are a lot of the things that we want our teams to be," Almquist said. "We talk about our kids, and we have our quote of the week on Monday and that quote was with Kobe Bryant today, and he's just talking about taking care of yourself and no excuses and just outworking everybody. I think if you're a coach or an athlete -- you're a father, those are all the things that you want to teach your sons and daughters. So, I think Kobe had an incredible influence on many people, not just because of how he was able to physically play, but just all the work that went into it and his mindset day in and day out."

After he finished his NBA career, Bryant used his platform to try to transform the way people thought. For Helena High boys head coach Brandon Day, it was Bryant's views on youth sports that captivated him.

"As he's gotten older, me being a father and him being a father, there's a lot of things that tied to his philosophy on youth sports and and how he thinks youth sports should go, also my opinion on youth sports," Day said. "He is definitely an icon, he'll be missed a ton. It's amazing how one individual in the sports world can have such an impact on the world."

However, it wasn't just youth sports that Bryant in which was attempting to influence change. Bryant, a father to four daughters, was a major proponent of women's basketball, both at the professional and collegiate levels -- a contribution that both Helena High girls head coach Eric Peterson and Helena Capital girls head coach Katie Garcin-Forba believe will continue live on.

"He was a big advocate for and big proponent to going and supporting women's basketball, and, I think just in general, he was visible. With somebody of his stature being visible and promoting the game, the women's basketball game, it meant a big deal to a lot of people and the girls that are partaking in that sport," said Peterson.

"I think that the second half of Kobe's life after the NBA was going to have a really big impact, and I don't think that that's going to go away. I saw the involvement that he had with his daughter and her travel team and mentoring young women, the involvement he had in the WNBA. He was a big supporter to college women's basketball. I think he was starting to really set the tone and the expectation that women should have that sort of respect, and I think he was very vocal about it," said Garcin-Forba. "I think that his legacy, he made an impact that people will want to continue that on."