Kobe Bryant’s high school coach Gregg Downer reflects on losing ‘hero’

Kobe Bryant's high school coach Gregg Downer reflects on losing 'hero'

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ARDMORE, Pa. – Wearing Kobe Bryant’s old warmup jacket plucked from a storage closet at Bryant Gymnasium, Lower Merion basketball coach Gregg Downer tried Tuesday to do what he knew he couldn’t on Monday.

He did his best to keep his emotions in check as he reflected on the sudden, tragic death of Bryant, who he called his “hero” in a statement the school district released Monday night, a day after Bryant died along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash in California.

As of Tuesday, Downer hadn’t visited the growing shrine to Bryant outside the gym, filled with flowers and jerseys and notes and basketballs.

“I want to start patching these things together and the next step of this journey is to start looking at stuff like that display,” Downer said during a press conference Tuesday inside a conference room at an administrative building.

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