Kobe Bryant leaves impression on local girls basketball coach

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LURAY, Va. (WHSV) -- Joe Lucas' passion Is his job coaching the Luray high school girls varsity basketball team. His biggest supporter is basically the same size as the basketball, it's his 4 month old daughter Riley.

Luray girls varsity basketball head coach Joe Lucas

Riley is at every game and he wouldn't be surprised if she plays basketball one day.

"Her growing up around the game, being behind our bench, she's probably heading in that direction," Lucas told WHSV on Monday.

That's why the tragic and sudden death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter, future basketball superstar 13-year-old Gianna, hit Lucas hard.

"I didn't want to believe it," Lucas said. "You know it really hit home when he talked about his daughter and you know at first it was bad enough being that he raised his daughter and had plans for his daughter to play in the WNBA."

While Lucas believes in Bryant's mamba mentality of hard work,
It's another mantra he's thinking of today.

"People would come up to Kobe and say you would have to have a boy to carry on your legacy and he would say i don't need a boy, I've got my daughter right here, she's gonna carry on my legacy."

It's not Bryant's five NBA championships that impress Lucas the most, but it's the support he gave his daughter, something that Lucas plans to do for Riley.

"I don't know if my daughter is going to be a basketball player but i have told everybody that i do want her to be passionate about something," Lucas said. "Whether it's basketball or ballet or cheerleading, it doesn't matter."

It's a lesson Lucas hopes that everyone will learn from Bryant.

"If the biggest men's star in the world could be an advocate for women's basketball, then what does that say about everybody else? They should be stepping up to the plate to be an advocate for women's basketball too."