NBC Sports Philadelphia's Serena Winters grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant.
On Sunday, after the tragic deaths of the 41-year-old Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash (see story), Winters shared her memories covering Bryant in Los Angeles.
"He was the guy where you want to get to the gym five hours ahead of time because you want to see him work on the court, because he always had to be the first one in the gym," she said. "He's the guy where you talk to anybody that's covered him and everybody has such a unique story. I can remember hearing so much about these epic ping-pong games at Thanksgiving, because he was so competitive. I remember him playing football - he was just competitive in every single thing that he did.
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"But above all else, he just pushed everybody around him to be better, and it wasn't just the people on the court. It was also the media members, the PR staff, people that worked in the organization. He made everybody better, and once you gained the respect of him - I can't tell you what that means to so many people that have been around him."
You can listen to Winters' memories of Bryant in the video above.