Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Black Mamba-lorian turns 32 and how I hunted down Kobe Bryant

Happy Birthday Kobe Bryant, my favorite NBA player slash Bounty Hunter slash cold blooded Assassin!

When Kobe first visited Manila in 1998 as a promising NBA sophomore, my brother and I went to Festival Mall in Alabang where Kobe was supposed to make an appearance at the Adidas store (he was still endorsing "the brand with the 3 stripes" back then). I was collecting NBA cards then and had a solid batch of Kobe Bryant rookie cards waiting to be signed by the newest  rising star of the LA Lakers. Alas, a change in schedule led to the cancellation of Kobe's Festival mall appearance, and together with a sizable number of fans, we went home disappointed and frustrated.

Fast forward 9 years later. Fresh from winning his 4th Championship with the Lakers, Kobe visited Manila again in September 2007. Once more, I missed the opportunity of  seeing the Black Mamba in person. It was already too late when I read the news of Kobe's visit, and I also had work that day.

When I learned that Manila would once again be a stop in KB24's Nike Take Every Advantage Tour, I made sure that I would not strike out on the chance of seeing the planet's best basketbal player in the flesh. Filing a vacation leave on July 13, 2011, I headed over to the Nike Fort in Bonifacio High Street. I didn't mind standing 4 hours under the noon heat just to get a good vantage point of the stage where Kobe was supposed to appear.

Much to my dismay however, a cameraman positioned himself strategically in front of the stage where I was standing, partially obstructing my view. But I would not be denied. I didn't wait 13 years just to be frustrated by an ill placed piece of equipment.

When the moment finally arrived, I jostled to get a decent enough of a view. And there was my reward... The Black Mamba right before me very eyes!


kay said...

this must have been an epic moment for you. happy for you tsong!

Dave Josef said...

wuw its kode, i want to see him playing for the finals.

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