TOWSON, Md (WMAR) — It's a place usually filled with chatter, but Sunday at Selwyn's Barber Shop in Bel Air, eyes were trained on TV screens as the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant played out.
"It's really surreal that we are here discussing Kobe in the past tense," said Rob Knox.
Knox, who now works for Towson University, first met Kobe 25 years ago. Kobe was playing for Lower Merion High School and Knox was interning at the Philadelphia Inquirer, assigned to cover the games.
"His games were like spectacles. Everybody had to be there. You wanted to see him play in high school. But I think for me, his impact was just how humble he was. How easy and down to earth he was to talk to," said Knox. "People think that Kobe was this big scorer and he was and he had the ability to but he really loved his teammates in high school. He really trusted his teammates at Lower Merion. I covered a game where he had 15 points and 17 assists."
He got to know Kobe and continued to follow his career when it took him across the country, drafted to the Lakers right out of high school. He won five NBA Championships and two Olympic gold metals before retiring in 2016, later winning an Academy Award for his animated short 'Dear Basketball.'
"The impact that he's had, forget basketball for a second, but just in life. For women's basketball and so many other causes, writing childrens' plays," said Knox.
For Knox, he will also remember Kobe's work ethic. Something that has inspired him for years.
"As good as he is, he wants to get better and my thought process is, if anyone like Kobe Bryant can continue to work on his craft and perfect it then who am I to say I don't wanna do it or I can't do it? So he's always inspired me to work," said Knox.