By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
In East Los Angeles the Torres high school Girls varsity basketball team was about to tip off against visiting Elizabeth Learning Center. That’s when ELC Head Coach Maytee Dimas wearing a Lebron James (23) Laker Jersey approached the head referee and calmly said a few words. The referee then walked over to Torres Head Coach Juan Rodriquez and said something to him then the coach nodded as if to say yes.
With the game about to begin Dimas said something to the fans and parents that traveled with the team. They scrambled a bit and they got down on one knee in the stands.
A few moments later the players lined up for a jump ball, then the official tossed up the ball. ELC gained possession and the player immediately placed the ball on the floor and took a knee.
The Torres players went back inside the free throw lane. It was a tribute to Kobe. Some fans wearing Kobe Jerseys (8) and some had (24) also kneeled. The tears were flowing, the gym was silent as they honored the fallen LA sports star. The only thing you could hear was the shot clock –TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK. The feeling was some loss recognition of the lives lost. At that moment someone was honored. Then the long buzz of the shot clock. The 30 second clock expired and then game game continued.
“I thought it was a great way to pay respect,” said Coach Dimas. “After all he’s done, we had to show respect.”
It was only fitting in that Kobe was a big supporter of Girls Youth basketball and Women’s basketball.
Kobe, his daughter Gigi, along with seven others died in a Helicopter crash near Calabasas. They were headed to a game at the Momba Academy in Newbury Park. Others on board included: John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sara Chester, Payton Chester and Ara Zobayan.
There were several ways they all were honored. John the baseball coach at Orange Coast College had a ceremony at the Pirates home field.
At Staples Center when the Lakers played Portland there was a pregame ceremony that included Usher singing Amazing Grace and Boys II Men doing the National Anthem.
All around the City there are many other tributes. The MTA had Buses that read RIP KOBE, store fronts placed Kobe’s jerseys (8) and (24) in the display window. One that stood out at the corner of Fairfax and Melrose was a painting of Kobe and his daughter Gigi with Angel wings both on while dribbling a basketball.
All-Time great Rebecca Lobo stated, “No NBA player supported WNBA or Women’s college basketball more than Kobe. He attended games, watched on TV and coached the next generation. We pray for his family.”