TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Del Harris said he was like a lot of people Sunday when the news broke of Kobe Bryant’s death — he didn’t want to believe it. But when he realized the NBA star is really gone, he started looking back on all the good times they had together.

“I’ve known Kobe since ​he was 4 years old. His dad played ​for me on the Houston Rockets in 82, 83… ​and then I was Kobe’s first coach,” Harris said.

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​When Harris heard the news, ​he said memories came rushing back.​

“He was highly intelligent, you know, multilingual,” ​he said. “He was so dedicated. He would have lived in that gym.”​

From Bryant’s highest scoring game against the Raptors to his last game, Harris remembers it all.

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“All the players that have come after him have ​learned about his work ethic and what it takes to ​be the best individual you can be,” Harris said.

Cameron Payne of Texas Legends recalls feeling star struck ​the first time he met the basketball legend while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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“Growing up that’s who I looked up to,” Payne said. “I had a nice little talk with him​ leaving the arena — we played the Lakers in ​Oklahoma City. Met him at the bus. We got a picture… and I got to tell him, ​’You’re my favorite player.’ He told me, ‘Keep working.'” ​

It’s a moment he said he’ll cherish forever.​

“When you look down the line at all he’s done… ​it’s crazy to see a good guy go so fast. So soon. It’s unbelievable. A huge tragedy,” he said.

Harris said Bryant’s ​legacy will always be his work ethic and that all of his accomplishments came because he was willing to put in the work.

Erin Jones