TERRE HAUTE, Ind., (WTWO/WAWV)– Susan Mardis, the sister of the late Frank Hamblen, remembers Kobe Bryant as a family friend and an all around good person.
Frank Hamblen was a Terre Haute native, who later became an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.
He won five championships with the team during Bryant’s career.
Mardis said Bryant stepped up in a major way when her brother Frank died in 2017.
“He was assistant coach to Kobe. Then Kobe spoke at my brother’s funeral. He spoke for the Lakers. The Lakers were there. Many of them were there. But Kobe stepped up and said ‘Is it okay if I speak for coach?’ And we said thank you. Thank you Kobe. We were very appreciative of that,” said Mardis.
Mardis said he was a great man both on and off the hardwood.
“Not only was he a great player, he was a great person. And there are players you know that are great players but not always great people. Kobe was the whole package.”
She said remembers Kobe as a man who put his family first before anything else.
“I just want people to know he loved his family. He loved those little girls. He was a dad and a husband. Basketball was his career, but he was the complete package,” said Mardis.
Click the video below to hear a memory that Kobe shared about his time with Frank Hamblen at his funeral: