‘One Of My Heroes Just Died’: CU Buffaloes Head To LA In Wake Of Kobe Bryant’s Death

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– The 20th ranked Colorado Buffaloes basketball team hits the road this week for a pair of games in Los Angeles. The Buffs will visit UCLA on Thursday and USC on Saturday. Thursday night’s game will be one of the first pro or college basketball games played in L.A. since the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant. His immense impact is being felt in Boulder especially by the players on the Buffs who come from Southern California.

One of those players is forward Evan Battey. Battey grew up less than 20 minutes from the Staples Center and considers Kobe one of his heroes.

Evan Battey #21 of the Colorado Buffaloes rebounds over Obi Toppin #1 and Rodney Chatman #0 of the Dayton Flyers at the United Center on December 21, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Colorado defeated Dayton 78-76. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

“It’s going to be emotional. It’s going to be hard-hitting in the fact that one of my heroes just died. And we’re going to go out there and play it all for him,” Battey said.

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts while taking on the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

Kobe Bryant (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

Head Coach Tad Boyle and his star forward spoke on Tuesday about Bryant’s impact on the Buffs, how the team is handling Kobe’s death what kind of atmosphere the Buffs expect in Kobe’s hometown where the pain and suffering of Bryant’s death is still weighs heavy.

“My message to our team is going to be the best way to honor Kobe Bryant is to come out and compete like we’ve never competed before, because he was a great competitor and to play like we love the game because he loved the game as much as anybody’s ever loved the game,” Boyle said.