One hundred students and athletes who gathered in a photo to celebrate their accomplishments are dedicating the image to NBA champion Kobe Bryant, who died shortly before the picture was taken.
The photo shoot took place on Jan. 26 and was arranged by Beyond the Ball -- a Texas-based organization that focuses on showing young people they can do more than play ball.
"The focus of that photo shoot was officially to honor the legacy of Kobe and how each of them embody him every day," Erica Molett, CEO of Beyond the Ball, told "Good Morning America." "It was an emotional moment because so many of those boys looked up to Kobe."
Katisha Williams, whose son Bryson appeared in the photo, told "GMA" they stopped the session to take a moment of silence after learning of the basketball legend's death. Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were two of the nine people who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Southern California Sunday. The tragedy rocked the basketball community as well as fans across the nation.
"You could see how they lifted their shoulders, they lifted their heads. They were doing it for him," she said.
Molett, whose sons Kyle, 13, -- a basketball player -- and Tyler, 12, -- a basketball player and saxophonist -- also appeared in the photo, said Beyond the Ball launched a social media campaign asking parents to write letters revealing why their child is a "brilliant boy of color."
Those chosen would appear in the photo which will run on the cover of Southern Dallas Magazine.
"It was like there was finally someone asking them about the good stuff [about] their brilliant boys," Molett said. "[At times] it’s, 'how do you feel as a black mother about the police violence?' As a parent you always want to brag about your babies but you don’t have the opportunity so it just meant the world to all of us."
It was an emotional moment because so many of those boys looked up to Kobe.
Molett said the boys' dreams of becoming a ballplayer can often distract them from their academic pursuit.
Beyond the Ball incorporates science, math and technology innovations that exist in the sports industry and extend beyond the court or on the field.
Molett said the 100 children and teens in the photo embody Bryant’s "mamba mentality," which he coined as he inspired young athletes to be the best versions of themselves.
Posing in the powerful photo on the steps of the African American Museum of Dallas were lacrosse players, swimmers, basketball players, members of ROTC, fire academy members, second-chance high school graduates and more accomplished youth of black and Latino decent.
Williams she nominated her son Bryson to appear in the photo not only because he plays football and runs track, but he has been her biggest support system as she fights stage 4 breast cancer.
"He’s been the most amazing big brother to his [2-year-old] sister," Williams told "GMA." "If I’m having days where I just can’t, he steps in. He makes sure she eats, she’s entertained, she gets ready for bed, changing diapers, potty training."
"He care of his business without letting his circumstances stop what he needs to do."
Williams went on, noting how she wants everyone to know that black boys are "not just athletes."
"That’s not all they’re here for," she said. "They can be nurses, caregivers, nurturers -- there’s all these things people don’t see."
"You see this tall, 6-foot, broad-shoulder young man walking through and some people may fear him," Williams added. :There’s nothing to fear. My son is the most kind-hearted, laid-back kid you’ll ever want to meet. This [photo] was an opportunity to show him, 'This is what we think of you. You are amazing.'"
This (photo) was an opportunity to show him, 'This is what we think of you. You are amazing.'
Tyesha Lowe’s 16-year-old son Broderick Lowe II, was also chosen to be in the photo.
Broderick enjoys community service and often volunteers at a local homeless shelter.
"He has two relatives that are NFL football players," Lowe told "GMA." "He’s taken his love for the game and transitioned it into what he loves and he’s passionate about. He sees it doesn’t have to be about sports."
Nine minutes before photographer Kauwuane Burton snapped the picture, Molett, the kids and their parents learned that Bryant had died in the crash.
Lowe said she and the other families were shocked by the news.
"Broderick said to me, 'Mom, Kobe Bryant was an example of greatness. This will lead me to greatness as well,'" Lowe said.
Williams said the atmosphere during the shoot immediately shifted.
"That was a really powerful moment, just looking around the room," she added.
Given the inspiring messages behind the photograph, Molett said her bigger vision is to have 1,000 boys of color on the steps of the Africa American museum in Washington, D.C., someday soon.