"He always gave it his all" | Ohio State's Duane Washington Jr. discusses his 'Uncle Kobe'

Duane Washington Jr. with Kobe Bryant

As the investigation into the fatal helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others continues, fans are sharing their stories and memories of the NBA legend.

But for one Ohio State men's basketball player, Kobe wasn't just another player, he was like family.

Duane Washington Jr. is the nephew of Bryant’s former teammate Derek Fisher.

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Because of this Duane would have family gatherings with Bryant. He called him his uncle.

"I just remember being around him in the house playing Sorry, playing Uno, just a bunch of family time. Just sitting on his lap, playing a game and stuff like that,” he said.

Washington Jr. says he found out the news before the game Sunday at Northwestern.

“I was kind of just like, 'There's no way. How did this happen? It's so fake!' I broke down in the hotel room. My mom was there, and she gave me a big hug," Washington Jr. said.

He wrote “#8-24 Forever ”on his shoes for the game.

Duane's heartbroken, but he also feels grateful.

“Looking back on it now, I was very blessed to be in those positions and have a guy like that to be able to call my uncle and be there for me whenever I needed him,” he said.

He said he knew Kobe as not only a legend on the court, but in life.

"I just remember him being more than a basketball player: A great friend, a great husband, a great father, just a great uncle to me, a great person,” Washington Jr. said. “He had a great smile on his face - always positive. That Mamba mentality is something that a lot of people don't have and I don't think anybody is going to have it like he had it."