By: Elena Grace Flores
Kobe Bryant, known as the Black Mamba got a warm tribute from the Filipinos at the Araneta Coliseum recently during his very first day of setting foot into the country – who idolized him for 20 years during his sports career. Kobe just retired from basketball last April but he is still a celebrity in this part of the world.
CNN Philippines reported: ‘At the final event of Day 1 of the Mamba Mentality Tour, Bryant was left facing a grateful crowd of over 10,000 fans at the Araneta Coliseum. It was the end of the day’s activities and host Aaron Atayde proceeded to praise Kobe. “With everything that Kobe has done for each and every one of us, I need everyone who has ever cheered for Kobe to take out your phone and turn on your flashlight,” said Atayde. On cue, an emotional crowd lit up the dimmed arena as cheers erupted at the sight of thousands of lights switched on to greet the Mamba. With the lights still trained on Kobe, the attention of the crowd was brought to the rafters, where a red and white banner of the iconic Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight ’The Thrilla in Manila’ hung. Then across that banner the Araneta Coliseum unveiled a new addition to the gallery, revealing an image of Kobe Bryant walking towards the locker room with the words ‘Mamba Mentality Tour’ scrawled on the bottom. The crowd erupted as Kobe addressed those present. “I just want to say thank you so much for inspiring me on this journey,” said Bryant as he addressed the crowd one last time.”
Kobe’s every word was intimately absorbed by his fans especially when he narrated his basketball life from the very beginning until the end that wen much further than what he expected. A big group really can’t help it but screamed out ‘I love you, Kobe!’ which he graciously replied, “Hey, I love you too!” Very beautiful connection indeed for the love of basketball and Kobe. Only from the Philippines.