Kobe Visit Pics Post 1 of 3

I took around 90 pics from Kobe’s Manila visit yesterday so it’d be such a pity if I didn’t publish them all. So I decided to break it down into three parts in chronological order as the day went on. Here’s the first, starting morning of the 21st at the Press Conference, Manila Pen, Makati.

Some press guy came in wearing a full Lakers uniform. Wonder if it paid off.

View from the press holding area just before we were let into the main ballroom.

Press setup.

Line of cameras left in front of the front area as we broke for lunch.

How I survived the event: Biogesic (I had a splitting headache, and my phone, which I used to liveblog the event using aka.name‘s Twitter – like service.

Nest of press people. Believe me, 2007 was worse than this.

View from my table.

You can tell he’s coming from the buzz.

Kobe! Fielding questions at this point.

A better look.

Big screen on both sides.

Q&A lasted approx. 30 minutes, with Patricia Bermudez-Hizon as host. Around 10 or so interesting and not – so interesting questions were asked. He was asked what he thought about Filipino food for example, which is silly because anyone who checks his sched will know he’ll only here a day so I doubt he’d have enough time to eat anything, nor is it really interesting info to begin with. There was even a starstruck old gentleman who started off declaring himself a lifelong Laker and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar fan, after which he asked something completely unrelated. Credit it to nerves I guess.

Some of the best though where when he was asked about the US recession, which he answered by saying that he feels there are people who might be watching the NBA for the last time and it motivates him to play better.

Related to that, he mentioned how the NBA concentrates purely on basketball, which is an important consideration in determining its continued success despite hard times all around. This is worthwhile info considering I’ve come to wonder recently how sports organizations succeed (and yes I’m talking about the PBA). Do they pursue the big bucks (endorsements, advertising, etc.), or do they concentrate on improving the game and keeping it pure? Or do they do both, and if so, how much and when do they draw the line?

I’d have loved to get a crack at picking Bryant’s mind or even people like David Stern re issues like this. It’d help provide insight re how they manage to keep the NBA both entertaining and profitable at the same time.

Sadly for some odd reason I declined an opportunity to ask questions, because at the time I didn’t really have anything in mind. At any rate, that’s cool, as I’m sure my sponsor will give me another chance one of these days (ahem).

Above are the buses that took us Press to the Fort, complete with police escort that made what’d have been a 45 minute trip last something like 20. So that’s how politicians feel. Next batch of pics at the Fort tomorrow!