"I just broke down in tears. In shock," said Justine Alvarez, a varsity basketball player at La Quinta High School.
A day after Kobe Bryant's tragic death, local athletes are still processing the jarring news.
"I mean Kobe…growing up…from 2000 to 2010 he was the best player. Everyone grew up wanting to be Kobe," said Stephen Williams, another varsity player at LQHS. " I mean…you'd shoot a piece of trash in the trash can and say 'Kobe!'"
Students at La Quinta High School were clad in Laker gear on Monday.
"My dad a few years back he got it at the stadium…Staples center," said Marissa Mayorqui, a LQHS student.
Kobe's work ethic was an example young athletes say they'll never forget.
"A big role model to me I remember my family used to just sit around the tv and watch him play basketball," Alvarez said.
"All he wanted to do was get better every day. He was the first one in and last one out. Always wanted to do better and do more for his team," Williams added.
Students also looked at Kobe's unwavering support and relationship with his daughter Gianna "Gigi" Maria-Onore Bryant, who was killed along with her dad.
"I wouldn't have known about him for sure if it wasn't for my dad. When hearing the news that it happened, it made me very emotional because of the whole father-daughter connection. It was just very upsetting for sure," Mayorqui said.
"He dedicated a lot of his time to his daughter…went to all of her tournaments…she was actually really good too," Williams said.
Students said Kobe's character and sportsmanship will leave a lasting legacy behind.
"He was a caring person. He was a nice person," Williams said.
"He encouraged me to play basketball," Alvarez said. "To not give up to keep going and to push yourself to the limit."