MERTON — We've seen hundreds of tributes to the late Kobe Bryant, but one that just happened on a youth basketball court in the town of Merton took all sorts of Mamba magic.
A ten-year-old boy not only wears Kobe's number, he ended a game in true Kobe fashion.
Brayden Kuptz has always been a big fan of Kobe Bryant, but the ten-year-old admits, it was pure luck to land Kobe's jersey number 24 this season as his coach handed out random numbers.
"The feeling when I got it was like, wow I can actually play with his number," said Brayden.
Brayden knew to wear Kobe's number sadly carried new meaning after Sunday's devastating helicopter crash that claimed the superstar's life.
"I heard it and I'm like, 'seriously? like, how did this happen? Why did this happen. Afterwards, it felt like I needed to use the number in a better way so that people don't get disappointed."
His opportunity to emulate Kobe's greatness came Tuesday night with just seconds remaining and his team down by three.
"My teammates behind me they were counting down from three and when they said one, I shot it kinda sideways and the buzzer went off and it went in, and I'm like, wow," said Brayden.
A parent from the other team captured the buzzer-beater, but what happened after the video stops recording is what Brayden will remember most.
"My friends behind me, they were like, do it for Kobe! I look behind and I'm like, yeah, do it for Kobe."
Brayden and the Merton Mustangs ended up winning the game in overtime.
"As a grown man, I'm not going to lie, I did well up a little bit," said Brian Kuptz, Brayden's father.
Brayden's Dad Brian was part of the celebration as his son earned a new nickname: Mini Mamba.
"Seeing it go through, it's one of those situations where looking back at the tragic situation this weekend, realizing that there's more to basketball and life," said Brian.
"I think it was meant to be," said Brayden. "I think that it happened for a reason."