Kobe Bryant supports diabetes awareness, basketball popularity upsurge in the offing

Photo by Ion Gonzaga
Kobe Bryant is in Dubai - a land where the sports for the tall guys is a minion; where football is staple and cricket is predominant among huge slice of expats.

Basketball is not a frequent content for many sports news here in the UAE. It is in fact not among the main categories in sports sections of any publications. Gulf News, The National, Khaleej Times and even Sport360, a sports periodic itself, tag basketball as "Other Sports" or "Miscellaneous."

NBA and basketball in general never make it to Twitter trending topics here. Filipino expats are the most popular fans and players of basketball here. You will see every court in outdoor parks full after work or during the weekends, with Filipinos.  During invitational tournaments wherein a Philippine team is always invited to play Middle-eastern clubs, the stadiums are jam-packed.

World basketball all-star Kobe Bryant is here primarily to support an advocacy campaign promoting awareness about diabetes. Thanks to DMCC and MAVEN Marketing and Events for bringing one of the most influential sports icon to spearhead this cause.

In his initial dialog to the media and bloggers, the 5-time NBA champ highlights the importance of awareness about diabetes and its prevention - sharing how arduous it's been to his family when both his grandfathers suffered from the condition. He stresses the importance of choosing what we eat, citing his own personal experiences, and sharing insights on how to stay fit and healthy.

He also shares his improving recovery on that Achilles tendon injury and his eagerness to play active ball at the early stages of the season 2013-14 which begins in November.  But he is not discounting the slim possibility that he "might" show up some moves at the exhibition games on Friday. A safer "Kobe intensity" perhaps will do ;-)

And oh, Kobe is awarded with a trade license to operate business in Dubai. Asked what could be the possible business ventures the black mamba plans to start up, Kobe, still reserved, says it would help to figure it out as he discovers Dubai.

He is ecstatic to explore what the UAE has in store for him. It will definitely be a busy mamba on the next 3 days.

So at least for this weekend, basketball will be in the pages, will be in sports headlines. Hopefully Kobe's remarkable visit will raise the popularity of basketball in the Emirates. And hopefully too, diabetes awareness and prevention will be widespread.

Visit http://www.kobefitnessuae.com/ for more information about the cause, and about Kobe's activities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Photo by Ion Gonzaga
I'm a fan
I was just 12 years old when a high-school Kobe rose to fame because of his basketball genius. I was trying to follow his moves when I'm playing on the streets. I'm an avid fan of his game, of the Lakers. He is an idol. His superstar shines brighter year after year after year. His maturity in the game becomes more inspiring. I dreamed, but I never have thought that at least I will be in the same room with Kobe himself, much more ask him directly a question in person.

I asked him, since he has coached many exhibition games, and he will again coach a celebrity team this Friday, and his father is a coach in ABL... Are we going to see a coach Kobe Bryant in the NBA in the future? He answered with a crispy NO, a grin, and added, "There are just too many divas."

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