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Rodrigo, Kobe Bryant’s friend
In the win against Canada 113-63, the Los Angeles Lakers star spoke several times in perfect Spanish with the ref.
Las Vegas. - “What happened to me in this city is incredible” said the still surprised ref from Argentina, Daniel Rodrigo.
“This is an enormous experience, to be able to ref these monster superstars that we watch from afar on television, and for them to treat you with the outmost respect and kindness is very astonishing. But the most amazing thing is what happened with Kobe Bryant before the beginning of the third quarter.
The guy (in Argentina ‘tipo’ is like dude is a common phrase and it means no disrespect is just common language) came directly to me and in perfect Spanish asked me to let his defender guard him more competitive. He told me that he needed to be guarded tougher or he would get bored. I would answer him in English, but he (Kobe) would continue to speak in excellent Spanish. I swear to you, I still cannot believe what happened.”
No questions were needed; Rodrigo was still overwhelmed by what happened. “ During the game I told the defender not to push him and I told Kobe not to touch him, that’s the reason why he came to me and asked me to allow more physical play. Always with respect, like all the players from the Dream Team. For example Jason Kidd he seems to be a gentleman. He said hi before the game, during the game and after the game. And every time I would call a foul, they would raise their arm towards the table to accept the call. Even coach Mike Krzyzewski asked for my forgiveness when one of his players insulted me, and he said it would not happen again.”
The ref lamented not having a picture of the scene with Kobe, something that he will save in his memory. “I don’t know if I will ever ref the Dream Team again, but if I do, I think the interaction with these players, will help me be a better ref and have more credibility. Nevertheless I never thought I would experience this. All of them at the end of the game said hello to me, they told me ‘good game ref!!!’ We think they are from a different planet. I’m really excited about the whole experience,” he added.
After the game Kobe said, “ It’s an honor and a responsibility to represent your country and even though sometimes we have fun and we look for spectacular plays, this is not the all star game. Beginning tomorrow things might change, and we have to play very good against Brazil, because it will be our first test.”
The attraction, here, are the monsters of the NBA. Like Daniel Rodrigo said, from now on…‘Kobe Bryant’s friend’