The Kobe Experience Part III, 1 of 5

I’ve had the incredible fortune of having covered Kobe in 2007, 2009 and again this year. Every year I wonder how he’s going to top the last one. Turns out I need not have worried because last night was an awesome experience the local basketball world will not soon forget. I will try my best to write about the 2 day experience of being with the press as we ‘picked up’ Kobe from the airport, attended his press conference at the Manila Pen, watched him train (or at least, try to train) a few kids at Gawad Kalinga Taguig, and finally watched him play with a UAAP Nike Selection vs. Smart Gilas.

I got tons of pics, and my memory’s still fresh ready to be typed up. But before all that, here’s a nice teaser to whet your appetite just in case you’re not feeling it yet.

Ready? So we start with the niiice Nike office and Nike Kobe Insider Joseph Carlo Herrera

I met 16 year old Joseph at the Nike office early AM. The place looked like an actual store

and it even had a rubber floor meeting room, which I suppose would be useful if you have your meetings while doing drills.

Joseph plays a big part in my 2 day experience because his innocence, raw energy and genuine, pure happiness at just being there was incredibly refreshing.

Compared to him, I, along with the other media, corporate personalities from Nike and media relations looked old and jaded. There were several times when things were quiet and we adults wouldn’t be able to help looking at him and smile as he would pace the pavement up and down nervously.

Here he is with Nike Regional executives:

It is very important for ‘experienced’ types such as I to be able to see and feel how it is to be a fan like Joseph again. During the 2 hour wait for Kobe’s jet to arrive he was never exhausted and was constantly fidgeting unable to contain himself. I’ve never seen someone without a kidney ailment go to the restroom so often.

Equally important is how he got to where he is. A daily routine for this 16 year old is school then house and again the same day, but today he’s going to go with select media people to meet top Nike executives and a chance to see Kobe live. How did he get this chance inspite of hundreds of thousands of equally rabid fans out there?

Simply because he writes, and writes well. Joseph is a budding writer who wields the written word with confidence. Nike Kobe Insider aimed to give them that chance, but you have to prove yourself worthy by expressing yourself well. By doing so you become the representative of all the other fans who would die to be there but cannot. They needed a guy who would see Kobe through the eyes of a fan and express himself properly so everyone can live the experience through him, and boy they did a great job choosing Joseph. He was who I was many years ago (exactly how many is irrelevant), but I cannot write the way he can anymore because I’m way past that.

We need guys like him to, as Nike would say, step up. If you have any ability at all in the arts, if you can paint, make a good video, write, take great pics, anything, you will always be noticed, and that’s how Joseph ended up being with us. I swear to God if that doesn’t inspire people out there to pursue arts they must truly be dense.

So Finally Kobe’s jet arrived (so that’s what a G6 looks like!) around 510pm.

That is one classy ride. And finally:

I remember wondering why there were so many basketballs people were carrying out the plane along with him. Maybe they were for him to sign? Or he does dribbling drills as he sits for long hours? Interesting.

Check out the 2 hand action as she’s taking a pic. These airport staff have skillz.

Ok so I’ll end this post for now, as after this nothing else of significance happened. The next day is where the action is, and I’ll schedule that for release tomorrow. Later folks!