For the seventh time and the first time in his post-NBA career, the Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant set foot in the Philippines to once again give inspiration and appreciation to the fans, who dearly love the sport.
On June 25, Bryant visited Manila for a two-day itinerary of having the Mamba Mentality Night on the first night and a closed-door training with selected group of guys on the last day.
Prior to the night cap event, he met had a small press conference at EDSA Shangri-la Plaza to discuss the concept of ‘Mamba Mentality’. Bryant explained it in his own terms saying, “It’s a constant quest to be the best version of yourself. It’s a quest to be better today than you were yesterday.”
The five-time NBA champion has been widely known for his undisputed dedication to the game, which ultimately resulted to the awards and recognition he gained in his 20-year career. Of course, the championships were Bryant’s ultimate accomplished goal since he was in his high school.
In his last NBA game, all eyes were on him and he didn’t fail to give out one last spectacular hurrah as he punched a 60 point outing in the last tale of his storied stint. “It’s still surreal. I had to pinch myself about it happening. It’s always my dream to play for the Lakers”, said Bryant.
This time around, he wants to part his attitude for the game to the lovers of the sport, saying that teaching for him is a lot of fulfillment in his part. “There’s so much value in teaching. It’s so much enjoyment when it comes from a player. From the moment I landed, the energy just started. It’s good to be back”.
On the Mamba Mentality Night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Bryant shared a fraction of his training regimen, leading a group of NBA and UAAP players to several shooting drills and conditioning skills. Despite not playing in the event, his mere presence was sufficient in the eyes of a jam-packed Big Dome, who chanted “Kobe” and “MVP” all night long.
As a part of his appreciation night, a dimmed Big Dome was filled with lights from every audience and spotlight focusing on Kobe. And as fitting for a legend like Bryant, Araneta Coliseum now holds a banner of the Black Mamba in the rafters, opposite of the iconic ‘Thrilla In Manilla’ logo.