Translated by a fan on KB24.
A different Kobe… with an Argentinean heart
Bryant, the star of the Los Angeles Lakers, is betting on Argentina, coached by Sergio Hernandez to beat Brazil’s national team, his kindness and willingness towards the media was incredible and very surprising
LAS VEGAS (special reporter). - “Who wins? I think Argentina.” The prediction was made by the one and only Kobe Bryant, minutes after the 91-76 U.S win over Argentina’s national team, in the last game of the pre-Olympic quarterfinals. A game that started very competitive, the person that put things in order was the Los Angeles Lakers’ guard, with his phenomenal performance. 15 points in the first 8 minutes to win the quarter 20-8. It was the closest game the ambassadors of the NBA have had, the only one that they’ve won by the smallest margin, and the only one that they lost a quarter (the last quarter 24-18).
“It was a good game. Argentina gave us a good fight, they asked a lot from us and we had to compete hard. They have a great team.” the offensive player added in perfect Spanish, “I know that Manu Ginobili, Nocioni, Oberto and other great players from your country are not here, and that’s a shame, but they [the players that played last night] represented very well”, added with the outmost willingness.
Later on, he explained his prediction. “Well, Brazil also has a great team, with a lot of power. I haven’t watched a lot of games, but by the way they played against us I think, I don’t know, that Argentina is the favorite. But anything can happen.”
In the meantime the U.S media that was interviewing him were surprised by what they were hearing, since they’ve never listened to him speak Spanish. And he did it by being somewhat shy and apologetic. He learned the language when he was a child living in Italy, where his father used to play.
About the win last night, he said: “Yes, I started very motivated. How do you say it? Hot, no? Well, with a lot of energy, because we were the two unbeaten teams and I like those games. All day I felt excited to play against Argentina.”
The kindness of Bryant towards the Argentineans reached unimaginable levels. During half time, he recognized an Argentinean photographer that was following him to take a picture and he told him: “ Where do you want to take it? Tell me, is here Okay?” The photographer was taking his picture, but Kobe immediately said: Is it Okay? Or do you want another one?” By this time the photographer (Soli Bosco, of Villar press agency) thought he was dreaming. “I don’t know, but I thought that all of a sudden I started to understand English,” was Bosco’s clever answer. “At first I thought it wasn’t him talking to me.” He added.
But the romance between Kobe and the Argentineans did not end there. Another reporter Fabian Garcia from Basquet Plus magazine, mentioned two days ago to Kobe that he admires the Los Angeles Lakers and asked Kobe if he would be able to sign a jersey that he brought from Argentina.
“I think is best if I don’t, but I will give you my shoes tomorrow, after the game.” responded the star.
The white, blue and yellow Nike shoes with the signature ‘Kobe’ are very well kept in one of Garcia’s bags and are traveling back to Buenos Aires.
Later on, the man that plays for the Lakers spoke in Spanish with a TV station from our country. His willingness was incredible. We met him in the NBA locker rooms and he was never that open to interviews. If someone here is changing the image of the Dream Team is Bryant.
I think he couldn't sign the jersey because of his upper deck contract, or some other legal thing like that. But hey Jersey or Shoes worn in a game?....I'll take the shoes!!
And here's a bonus article: http://cbs.sportsline.com/nba/story/10330028