Many will argue that he’s one of the top 5 players of all time. A glorified Champion, decorated by the most prestigious awards basketball has to offer. A household name synonymous with not only basketball but also sport in all its forms. A generous, humble and brilliant talent. Yet for all his accolades, Kobe Byrant sees himself above nobody. The Lakers champion and Olympic hero consistently shows how passionate he is on and off the court and yesterday, in a whitewash Olympic victory for team USA over Tunisia, the greatness of the Black Mamba was put on display. However it wasn’t on the pine this time around.
Following the USA’s 110-63 blowout of Tunisia yesterday, Bryant, who only played 6 minutes, was approached by forward Mohamed Hdidane who offered him a worn sneaker and a marker. Kobe signed the shoe and the two embraced. It wasn’t the situation that was wonderful, it was the true nature of sportsmanship and outright respect shown by the Tunisian which was the real source of admiration. The fact that so many millions would love to meet and obtain a signature from Kobe, yet through the game of basketball a player who had obviously grown up watching him, not only got his signature, but also had the honor of playing against him is what sport is all about. It was refreshing to see a champion and his admirer be able to enjoy the game together like that.
Should be a great story for Hdidane’s grand children one day, right?