HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Rookie guard Josh Christopher is paid and employed by the Houston Rockets, but his roots run deep with Lakers' purple and gold.
"My grandma is a die-hard Laker fan and Kobe fan," Christopher, one of four Rockets selections in the first round of July's NBA Draft, admitted.
Christopher was born and raised in Southern California during the Kobe Bryant era. He looked up to the NBA legend.
"A kid from L.A. with a family of Laker people, and to have someone like Kobe to look up to. To have somebody to aspire to be one day and take notes from mentally, it would be important for me to respect him," Christopher said of Bryant.
Josh went to Staples Center, the Lakers' home arena, the day Kobe was tragically killed in a helicopter crash last year. Days later, Christopher got a tattoo reading "Mamba Mentality" - Kobe's mantra.
"His approach to the game is everything," Christopher explained. "That grit - the mamba mentality is everything. Rest in peace, Mamba. The youth will carry his legacy forever."
Christopher says, even though Kobe passed away a year and a half ago, Bryant is still a legend on the court and in the locker room.
"We talk about him so much and love him so much - it doesn't feel real at all," Josh admitted. "We try to hide the fact he's not here with us. He's gone forever but still here with us. Legends never die. Feel like he's still here with us."
Christopher averaged more than 27 points in five Rockets NBA Summer League games. Wednesday on ABC13, Bryant will be profiled in ABC News' Superstar series.
Rockets rookie Josh Christopher details admiration for Kobe Bryant
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