Kobe Bryant plays his last NBA game on Thursday. The five-time champion ends his 20-year career against the Utah Jazz.
During that span of time, the Laker legend was thankfully able to visit our country several times.
Here we recount all those precious, amazing moments.
The first time he did was in 1998 during that time's NBA lockout. He was just coming off his second season then. During his visit, he played in a 3-on-3 game, and showed off his hops in an impromptu dunk contest during the halftime of a PBA game. But what was most memorable was his surprise Tinikling performance, which fortunately has been documented albeit in a grainy way:
Kobe then switched to Nike some time after that stop. The brand then brought him to the country three more times.
In 2007, Manila was part of his "Supernatural" tour. During that visit, he went to meet kids from Eliseo Belen Charity at Nike Park, The Fort. Then he proceeded to the PhilSports Arena where we shared his training regimen with young Filipino ballers:
Two years after, 2009, Kobe once again embarked on six-city tour of Asia. Once again, it became an opportunity for Kobe to meet with kids and showcase his skills. Here he demoed his low-post skills:
Kobe visited Manila again in 2011 for two reasons. First, for Nike's "Take Every Advantage Tour." Second, as part of an exhibition game put up by Manny Pangilinan, which also included Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant.
Last but not the least (and hopefully not the very last in his life), Kobe was also in Manila in 2013, this time thanks to a different corporate sponsor: Lenovo!
There was no basketball game this time around, but for many fans, just seeing him was enough!