Kobe Bryant’s death is being felt across the basketball world, including right here in Erie.
Keith Nies, who is now the Special Education Supervisor for the Fairview School District, had a special connection with Kobe Bryant.
In 1996, Nies played basketball for Cathedral Prep. During that season, they played Kobe Bryant’s Lower Merion team in the state championship.
Nies says it was a special experience to play against a future all-time great.
Also, former JET 24 Sports Anchor Mike Gallagher was the play by play announcer for that game.
“Kobe had a really, really strong work ethic. I later became a high school basketball coach and I would use Kobe as a reference a lot of times, just about how hard he worked and the dedication that he put into becoming the best player that he could be,” said Keith Nies, Special Education Supervisor, Fairview School District.
“We knew it was special then and it will always be special to me, because of the special athlete and person that he was,” said Mike Gallagher, former JET 24 Sports Anchor.
Nies also served as Fairview High School’s basketball coach. During Bryant’s farewell tour in 2016, Nies met up with him again during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.