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‘They’re like, ‘You’re Kobe:” Merton 5th-grader wearing #24 hit last-second bucket!

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MERTON -- A Merton father shared an amazing clip of video from a youth basketball game on Tuesday evening, Jan. 28. Brian Kuptz said his son, Brayden, was wearing #24 -- and like Kobe Bryant, hit a last-second shot in the game.

Brian Kuptz tagged the post: "#forkobe #minimamba"

"I've dreamed about getting one shot to win the game," said Brayden Kuptz.

It didn't take long for that dream to become reality.

"It turns out, when I'm in fifth grade," said Brayden Kuptz.

It all came down to just a few seconds -- as victory often does in basketball.

"I was kind of in awe," said Brayden Kuptz.

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It wasn't just the shot clock that made the timing unforgettable.

"They're like, 'You're Kobe,'" said Brayden Kuptz.

He did it while wearing jersey number 24, the same as the late NBA legend -- killed in a helicopter crash two days before Brayden hit that shot.

"He definitely embodies the hard work and influence that Kobe carried, as well," said Kevin Van Rossum, coach of the Merton Intermediate Mustangs.

Coach Van Rossum said Brayden is a superstar off the court, as well, even though he won't admit it.

"I wouldn't say I'm a great superstar because I got great passes from my friends to get me open for the shot," said Brayden Kuptz.

Watching it made Brayden's father emotional.

"I'm a grown man but I teared up for a bit there," said Brian Kuptz. "Being a father, and being able to share that with him, it was a very proud moment, and something that neither of us will be able to forget."

Brayden Kuptz said the late Kobe Bryant would continue to serve as a role model as he continued pursuing his goals.

"He works hard, and I'm like, 'Well if he works hard, maybe I can be like him,'" said Brayden Kuptz.

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