Kobe’s Bas­ket­ball Life

YES! (Philippines) - - Kobe and Andre -

Kobe re­veals that he was not out­go­ing as a kid: “I didn’t wanna talk to any­one. Ev­ery time I got to guest in a show, I didn’t wanna talk to any of the artis­tas ’cause I was su­per shy.”

He over­came his shy­ness af­ter liv­ing for a year or two in the States. “That’s when I re­al­ized na, you know, I need to be more open, be more ac­tive, fun and talk­a­tive. And then, who I am now as a per­son is bet­ter be­cause I don’t miss chances any­more, be­cause I’m re­ally out­go­ing and I’m just re­ally a happy per­son.” Is his bub­bly and out­go­ing per­son­al­ity al­ways a hit with the girls? Not al­ways. In fact, he was turned down a num­ber of times by girls he took an in­ter­est in. He re­calls this one in­ci­dent with a fe­male ac­tress whom he doesn’t want to name: “Oh, it’s a funny story. I was, like, talk­ing to this girl be­fore, and she was a ris­ing star ata. Like, she’s gor­geous, so nice, and she’s got a great ca­reer. And she re­jected me.”

That was then. Ap­par­ently, the same girl tried to re­con­nect with him re­cently. It was Kobe who did the re­ject­ing this time. “And yeah, now she wants to talk to me. I’m like, ‘No. I can’t do that. If you just want me now be­cause of the fame and what I’ve achieved, just go for some­one else, ’cause I’m choosy.’ It’s a se­cret no one’s gonna know!” Here’s a photo of Kobe (left­most, back row) with the Creighton Blue Jays, the men’s bas­ket­ball team of Creighton Univer­sity. Af­ter play­ing for a sin­gle sea­son for the Creighton Blue Jays, where he av­er­aged 1.3 points in 15 games and never re­ally got to have qual­ity min­utes on the hard­court (re­ports say he only had a to­tal of 70 min­utes play­ing time), Kobe made the big de­ci­sion to move to Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia, to join the Cal­i­for­nia State Univer­sity Mata­dors in June 2017.

In an As­so­ci­ated Press re­port (June 1, 2017), Kobe was quoted as say­ing: “As a fresh­man, I ex­pected to play a lot. We had a strong lineup of older guys, and he [the Blue Jays coach] be­lieved in the older guys. Ev­ery­thing hap­pens for a rea­son.”

Kobe—here goof­ing around (right­most) with his team­mates JR Quina­han, Jeron Teng, and Kiefer Ravena (L-R), the same guys who rep­re­sented the Philip­pines in the FIBA 3X3 World Cup, the largest 3X3 tour­na­ment in bas­ket­ball—is thank­ful for all the sup­port he’s get­ting in his bas­ket­ball ca­reer. Ev­ery­one around him, he says, seems to be sup­port­ive and en­cour­ag­ing.

Kobe is now a mem­ber of Gi­las Pilip­inas, the na­tional squad rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try in FIBA Asia 2017 and in the South­east Asian Games 2017. It’s an honor that he proudly wears on his sleeve. “It’s not an every­day thing that I get to rep­re­sent my coun­try, so I’m just re­ally proud na, you know, as the youngest player of the team, I’m giv­ing a lot, you know. ’Cause there’s not a lot of 19-year-olds out there rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try, so I’m just re­ally blessed na bini­gyan ng op­por­tu­nity ng Gi­las to rep­re­sent the coun­try.”

Ad­mit­tedly, Kobe doesn’t ex­pect to be fielded in as of­ten and as long as he wants to, but still, he’s look­ing for­ward to the ex­pe­ri­ence he will gain from these high-pro­file leagues.

“They have a lot of, like, se­niors and old peo­ple. I’m the youngest one, so I think this is just an ice­breaker for my ca­reer in Gi­las. ’Cause, you know, Coach Chot [Vin­cent “Chot” Reyes] keeps talk­ing about, like, he wants me to be the face of Gi­las. So I just ap­pre­ci­ate na he’s show­ing me, at such a young age, the path to it na.”

(The Philip­pine 3X3 team ended its 2017 cam­paign in 11th place. The tour­na­ment was held in Nantes, France, last June.) Ac­cord­ing to Dodo Cat­a­cu­tan, edi­tor in chief of SPIN.ph, the sports web­site of Sum­mit Me­dia, Kobe Paras has all the mak­ings of a fu­ture bas­ket­ball star. Not only is Dodo im­pressed with Kobe’s height, he’s also struck by Kobe’s ath­leti­cism and ver­ti­cal jump.

“I think, ath­let­i­cally, he’s very gifted,” Dodo ex­plains. “So he has all the tools to re­ally shine. One is, six-foot-six siya na pro­por­tional. Some­times, may makikita ka na play­ers na mataas pero hindi na­man pro­por­tional, ei­ther awk­ward gu­malaw or maba­gal. But this guy is six-foot-six and le­git na ma­bilis. Two, ’yong talon is ex­tra­or­di­nary. Kaya, di ba, you can see his videos of his dunk all over the In­ter­net?”

Dodo, who has been cov­er­ing the sports beat for three decades, be­lieves that while Kobe has the at­tributes and skills to shine, his get­ting into the NBA—con­sid­ered the beall and end-all of pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball— re­mains a big ques­tion mark. But if he does get in, Kobe will be the first homegrown Filipino to make it to the pres­ti­gious and highly com­pet­i­tive league.

“It re­mains to be seen, but right now, sabi nga nila, he has all the chances,” Dodo sur­mises. “Wala pang homegrown na Filipino player na nakarat­ing ng NBA. He has the tools, he has the skill, he has the prom­ise, but whether he’ll get there or not, that re­mains to be seen.”

If he had the means, Kobe tells YES!, he’d hire some­one to take pic­tures of his daily ac­tiv­i­ties and his OOTDs, or out­fits of the day: “I want that per­son to be, like, my best friend type thing. I don’t want it to be just a ran­dom per­son. I want it to be, like, he takes pic­tures of me, I’ll take pic­tures of him, too.” Isn’t his Kuya An­dre the per­fect can­di­date for the job, since they hang around a lot? Laugh­ing, Kobe replies: “That’s what me and An­dre used to do be­fore. But he broke the cam­era! ’Cause he’s a care­less per­son. But you know, hope­fully I can find, or hope­fully I can con­vince my friends. But most of my best friends are in the Philip­pines, not in the States.”

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