Northeast Wisconsin basketball community feels loss of Kobe Bryant

Owner of The Driveway, Ryan Borowicz, talks to basketball players at the end of practice.
Owner of The Driveway, Ryan Borowicz, talks to basketball players at the end of practice.(WBAY)
Published: Jan. 27, 2020 at 10:35 PM CST
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Kobe Bryant's death is impacting athletes around the world, including the basketball community here in northeast Wisconsin.

Rainey Welson, a 7th grader at Greenville Middle School, has been playing basketball since she was in third grade and is already making her name known in the sport.

“I won two state championships in 5-6th grade and then for a 3-on-3 tournament I went to Dallas and we ended up Junior NBA,” said Welson.

Now a she's even been reading up on Kobe Bryant’s book, “The Mamba Mentality.”

“He was always my favorite NBA player. I loved him, I loved how determined he was to score and help his teammates out,” said Welson.

Her dad was in the process of planning a trip to the Mamba Academy for her when he heard the news of Kobe's death.

“I had literally just talked with them on Friday afternoon just to make sure it made sense for us,” said Trevor Welson, Rainey’s dad.

After seeing images of the helicopter crash and tributes to Kobe, the Welson's decided to put their plans on hold.

“We want to be able to enjoy it, and we want them to heal and recover somewhat, in whatever way or shape that takes for them,” said Welson.

Until then, Rainey will continue her basketball training here at

in Hobart, where Kobe’s mentality is also implemented.

“I mention his name at least weekly here, and he hasn't played in three to four years,” said Ryan Borowicz, owner of The Driveway. “From my standpoint as a teacher of the game, he was very detailed; his footwork was unbelievable, his mechanics, all of that was just off the charts.”

A seasoned basketball player himself, Borowicz says Kobe will forever be remembered as an icon.

“There's so few of them that they just transcend the game, they transcend culture and he was one of those very few,” said Borowicz.

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