Recently, the Girls and Boys Basketball teams from BASIS International School Shenzhen had the honor of attending a program with the one and only Kobe Bryant. The NBA superstar was releasing his new book, The Wizenard Series: Training Camp. Needless to say, all of the school players were ecstatic to hear the news. The team was invited without them knowing the inner details of who was going to be there. They were already very excited to just hang out together and meet on the weekend. The news of Kobe Bryant being in attendance put them over the moon.
Kobe and China
Kobe Bryant was the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets. He was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on the same draft day. During Kobe Bryant’s 20 season NBA career, he racked up all the awards that any basketball player could dream of: NBA Championship (5), NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, NBA Most Valuable Player, NBA All-Star (18), All-NBA Team (11), Scoring Champion (2), and All-NBA Defensive Team (9). After retiring in 2016, he has officially begun the conversation of being one of the best basketball players of all time. With many current NBA players implementing certain aspects of his game, Kobe has left his mark on the game of basketball.
During the off-seasons in his career, Kobe has taken periodic trips to China to establish a deeper bond with the growing basketball fandom in this large nation. He has succeeded: Kobe’s jersey and merchandise sales have skyrocketed since his first visit in 1998 to sponsor a basketball clinic. While sales were great to Kobe, he cared more about his philanthropic impact. He has sponsored numerous clinics, given to the Kobe China fund for relief during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and donated his own time to help improve the lives of many Sichuan students. His consistent attendance in China has cemented him as a name that will always be known in the East. Kobe’s release of his new book, and coming to China to release the English (with a Chinese version to come) was just his most recent trip.
A Life Altering Experience for Students
A few of the BASIS International School Shenzhen basketball players had the good fortune to be in a smaller room for a chance to meet Kobe Bryant in March 2019. One of our student athletes–and avid Kobe fan–Michael X. had the honor of asking him a basketball related question. Of course, Kobe answered it in true veteran NBA fashion, providing insight that our students will be able to incorporate into their own game. Another one of our students, Ivy Y., had the opportunity to give Kobe a gift on behalf of BASIS International School Shenzhen. When I asked them about the experience, Ivy and Michael both agreed that this was a life altering experience for them.
Watch: BASIS International School Shenzhen student asks Kobe Bryant a question
Once Kobe stepped on the stage to address the larger audience, the entire auditorium erupted with chants of ‘M-V-P.’ Kobe isn’t unfamiliar with this treatment, so he thanked the crowd and introduced his new book. After a few formalities, he also opened the floor for some questions. The crowd engaged with him on every level: it isn’t every day that you have a chance to meet a living legend.
The Girls and Boys Basketball team has bonded together over a great time and life-long memory. Many of us will never forget the moment when we were in the presence of Kobe Bean Bryant!
Jason Quaynor teaches 7th and 8th grade English and coaches basketball at BASIS International School Shenzhen.