This was where Bryant took his first steps toward superstardom, where his prowess on the basketball court caught the eye of NBA scouts and propelled him to a professional career straight out of high school.
This was where, all morning long Monday, a shrine of flowers, jerseys, Lakers caps, a Bryant bobblehead doll or two and dozens of basketballs grew outside the gym that bears his name, which he helped fund.
"He would come back every year or so with gym shoes and other gear for the team," said Neil Gilmour, whose grown sons played basketball at the school. "This was his alma mater. He didn't go to college. He was too good a basketball player."
Gilmour then removed the maroon LM cap he was wearing and laid it and a bouquet of purple flowers on the shrine.
"I had to come and pay my respects," he said.
LeRoi Leviston, who coaches basketball at nearby Malvern Prep, called Bryant an "icon."
"He was the reason I fell in love with basketball," he said, his voice cracking a little.
As Leviston spoke, somber students walked past, glancing over at the shrine and the mourners gathered there.
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"We all wore black to honor Kobe," James Simples III, a senior and a member of the basketball team, said later. "People don't really know how to react."
Two pictures of Bryant are displayed on the walls of the gymnasium he helped build, and there is a 1,000-point banner that bears his name (he scored 2,883 points for his high school team) that is kept in a safe place rather than on display.
So enduring is Bryant's legacy that when the Aces fall behind, rival fans taunt them with chants of "You need Kobe."
"He's been the star here for a long, long time," Gilmour said. "And now he's gone. It's such a tragedy."