Blast from the Past: Kobe’s 1998 visit in Malacañang
The late Kobe Bryant was a force to reckon with on and off the court. Through his so-called Mamba Mentality, he has earned a chunk of space in the heart of every Filipino hoop fans.
The former Los Angeles Lakers guard has visited the basketball crazy Philippines six times since he was drafted in the NBA in 1996.
He first visited Manila in August 1998, where he met with former president Joseph Estrada in Malacañang.
Bryant was just a 19-year-old back then but with the reception he had here in the Philippines, there’s no denying he will influence young Filipino dreamers in every way possible.
During his goodwill visit in Malacañang on aug. 14, 1998, he struck a post with the former president as if he’s posting him up–a Kobe signature NBA fans grew up watching him do game after game for 20 years.
Manila waited for 9 years for the return of the Black Mamba in September 2007. He again visited the country in July 2009, July 2011, August 2013 and lastly in June 2016, just months after he retired from the NBA.
He left NBA with five championship rings, two Finals MVP award, an NBA Season MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star appearances, and two Olympic gold medals.
His 33,643 career points kept him in third place on the all-time list until LeBron James, the Lakers’ current superstar, passed him on Saturday.