MANDAN, N.D. - Plenty of people are mourning Sunday's death of NBA star Kobe Bryant, but a Mandan man is taking the news harder than most others.
A lifelong Lakers fan only just begins to describe Kyle Leingang. He's collected Kobe Bryant memorabilia for over 20 years, and Thursday, he put it on display
to remember his favorite player.
"The first memory I have with the Lakers is with my dad, and cheering as they won their first NBA finals in 2000,” said Leingang.
It’s a family tradition surrounded with both love and loss.
"It's just kind of crazy because I relate it a lot to my father, actually who passed away a couple of years ago too, too soon,” said Leingang.
Bryant’s death on Sunday hit home for Leingang.
"He was so young, and I thought I would see him around, growing old, growing gray and sitting in the stands with all of the other Laker legends," said Leingang.
Leingang’s eventual goal was to use his collection as a way to meet Kobe. But now, he wants to donate it.
"The two places I would either give this to would be the Staples Center, or I would like to give it to the Vanessa Bryant family," said Leingang.
He says Kobe’s life will continue to serve as an inspiration to him.
"I'm always going to remember him as the greatest player of our generation that I ever saw,” said Leingang.
He wants to use this collection as a way to always remember his basketball idol.