Friday, 15 July 2011

The Final Score: Kobe Bryant the Azkal, Kobe Bryant the Tamaraw

Posted by chardyboy on Friday, July 15, 2011 0 comments

source: By Mico Halili

In the normal NBA, Kobe Bryant is a Laker. But these are abnormal times. And in a current lockout, Bryant is, technically, neither a supreme Laker nor a league representative. He is a basketball player without a team or league. But he is Kobe, still; albeit Kobe being Manila's most recognizable tourist last July 13. Even as a mega-billionaire nomad, he promotes, stays top of mind, even when he assumes other frames and forms.

At 32, after 15 years in the NBA, the charm's still there, like Bryant spews out charismatic venom. The scowl is in storage. The disappointing playoffs a distant memory. He struts with the swagger of a five-time champion and the smile of a celebrity. Yet due to restrictions of a league on-hold, he's game to talk about other matters aside from a past season gone to waste, a future season in limbo. Not so eager to talk about his new coach. Not that willing to explain why players like him have been locked out of the front gates.

But Kobe the tourist is in the mood to chat, about other stuff anyway. His eyes light up when I mention football. It's his other sporting passion. It's proof of Kobe's Italian side. And he shows why any war between basketball and football is utter nonsense. I'm not sure if my mention of the word "Azkals" resonates. But the topic I raise makes him, I suspect, a little giddy.

"Football is a beautiful sport," Bryant, whose current low-cut signature sneaker was originally inspired by the low-cut shoes footballers used, exclaims. "It really helped me develop as a kid, growing up in Italy and playing football. It really helped my footwork a lot. That's why you can see me move in different angles on the floor. And I have football to thank because I had to develop great footwork when I was young."

Kobe the tourist suddenly becomes Kobe the Azkal; a basketball star endorsing the beauty of a different sport. Black Mamba is suddenly a slam-dunking footballer. He was always enthralled by how his favorite AC Milan strikers maneuvered on the pitch. The sharp cuts. The crazy change of pace. It was inspiration embedded early in the brain of an NBA predator. The proof is in his moves. The image is popping up in your head. You see it? The zig-zagging style. Deep down, in places only Kobe can access, Mamba is an Azkal.
Kobe flashes his shifty moves on a Wednesday night. A surprise performance. He slips into a gold Far Eastern University jersey for the undisputed highlight of his Manila tour. He joins La Salle's LA Revilla and Joshua Webb and Ateneo's Kirk Long and Greg Slaughter in the scrimmage of a lifetime. Kobe dunks. The Big Dome goes bananas. Over a non-Laker, a non-NBA superstar for the moment. Fans go nuts for this 6-foot-6 bakasyunista. An Azkal by heart. A Tamaraw for eight incredible minutes. - GMA News


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