When it comes to hoops in the Far East, Kobe Bryant has Asia on lock. Whereas we here in the States mindlessly follow the media hype machine, forever fawning over the ringless highlights of LeBron James, the Asian fan base gravitates towards winners. Therefore it’s only natural that Kobe’s agent is trying to organize a barnstorming tour of China during the NBA’s work stoppage.
While the world is well aware of the Chinese affinity for basketball, there’s a certain archipelago that doesn’t get a lot of love but certainly has a much love for the game.
The Philippines is among the many hoops crazed nations currently on the rise. In recent years Kobe has taken a moment out of his summer to help spread the gospel of basketball in the Philippines. Last summer KB24 did a web series in the Philippines and currently he’s in the midst of a five city tour conducting basketball clinics.
Kobe took a minute to give an interview that touched on a variety of topics – none of which mentioned the name Mike Brown. You can check out the interview here.
Most are familiar with the most famous Filipino on the planet – boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. What most don’t know is that Manny P’s first dream was to play pro ball. While the Philippines has yet to produce any NBA talent there’s no doubt their day is coming. Kobe himself has seen improvement in the Pinoy game over the course of the multiple trips he’s made across the Pacific.
“If you’ve got a good player, no matter where he’s playing, the NBA will find him. That’s how global the NBA is now. Every time I come back to Manila, everybody’s improving. Coaches play an important role in teaching players. They shouldn’t be screamers or yellers. They should be patient and know how to talk the game. The key is to be able to teach.”
Without a doubt Bryant is a global icon and one of the game’s great ambassadors. With the type of passion the Filipino people have for hoops you could see Kobe possibly bringing his talents back to Manila one day, just not today. Kobe has yet to commit to playing a series of exhibition matches in Manila with Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant. Maybe Kobe is still resting his knee or maybe he’s still basking in the afterglow of the abuse he dealt Bow Wow.