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Vipers honor Kobe Bryant's legacy

Wide receiver Jalen Tolliver pays tribute to Kobe Bryant by flashing the number 24

PLANT CITY, Fla. -- Typically, Tampa Bay Vipers head coach Marc Trestman opens the morning team meeting with a brief overview of the plan for the day.

But Monday was no typical day.

"I think that losing Kobe Bryant hit our team hard," Trestman said. "Yesterday, when we heard about Kobe, we just stopped everything and said a prayer for him and his family."

With the team reeling from the tragic loss of the basketball legend, Trestman -- who himself was still shaken up by the news -- decided to open Monday's morning meeting by talking about Bryant's passing and the legacy he left behind.

"We started this morning paying tribute to him and what he's done outside of basketball," Trestman said. "The philanthropist that he was, the leader that he was, the father and husband that he's been."

"Coach talked about what made Kobe so inspirational," wide receiver Daniel Williams said. "The impact he had on the world, on kids, and the generations coming up ... Kobe was just a different person."

"We really took Kobe to the field today."

Tampa Bay Vipers HC Marc Trestman

Trestman closed the meeting by playing an interview in which Bryant discussed his personal definition of success.

"How are you inspiring others to find themselves? That is the ultimate championship," Bryant said in the video. "How do you use your passion... to inspire somebody else to create their passion... and then how can they pass that on to the next person? That is true success."

Trestman said he hoped Kobe's words would hit home with his team.

"That's really the message we always talk about," he said. "The highway to fulfillment is giving and expecting nothing in return. Enjoy the locker room and the people that you're with because that's what you're going to remember."

When the players headed out to the practice field, they brought a spirit and energy that wasn't there when they arrived at the facility earlier that morning.

"We really took Kobe to the field today," Trestman said. "That is what what we try to stress every day -- to work together today and come back tomorrow and hope we can wake up in the morning and have another chance to do it."