The NBA may be an American basketball league, but where fans of its teams, coaches and players are concerned, it is a global phenomenon shared by the entire world. This fact became all the more evident in the wake of a tragedy of Sunday this week. When retired LA Laker and NBA legend Kobe Bryant perished in a helicopter crash in California, the international community mourned with the league and the US. Local celebrities here in the Philippines also expressed their sorrow at Kobe’s passing, especially as the basketball star has visited the country several times before. Here are some of the notable Filipino tributes.
Inquirer.net caught wind of some pretty awesome and thought-provoking remembrances offered by media stars here in the Philippines to honor the late NBA basketball god that was Kobe Bryant. Comedian and singer-songwriter Michael V once again proved just how multi-faceted and multi-talented he is by sketching a tribute illustration of Bryant in Lakers jersey glory. And to sell the importance of his tribute drawing, Michael V took a time-lapse video of himself working on said sketch on white paper, which he then posted on Instagram to a positive reception. He even compared his sorrow over Kobe’s death to that of Francis M and Michael Jackson.
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A short tribute to @kobebryant For some reason bigla kong naisip ‘yung tatay ko atsaka si Kiko. Feeling ko mae-excite sila na makaharap si Kobe. I had the same feeling nu’ng mawala si Michael Jackson. May halong “what if” at inggit. Alam ko namang lahat tayo doon din ang punta pero to have people say goodbye so soon seems unfair to some of us. Buti na lang naniniwala akong He has a reason for all of these things. We all deserve to be happy. Right here, right now or in the afterlife. Rest in peace Mamba. 🙏🏼💙
Meanwhile, Regine Velasquez’s own tip of the hat to the departed NBA retiree player on her own Instagram page led to a stark reminder for her fans that she suffers from dyslexia, or the reading disorder that hampers comprehension and writing of words despite normal intelligence. Regine admitted to having dyslexia back in 2012, but it looked like her fans forgot when they criticized her for spelling Kobe’s name as “Coby” on her IG tribute post. After correcting her error (and disabling post comments), the singing star gave a gentle reminder and admonition to her fans in a Twitter entry.
And then there were the simple gestures from other stars of Philippine TV and film that showed just how big Kobe Bryant was to the Filipino NBA fandom and beyond. Actor Gerald Anderson, who was a varsity basketball player in school before breaking into showbiz, shared photos of himself dressed in the Number 24 Lakers jersey of his idol. Photos were also the medium of tribute from Bianca Gonzales, sharing online pictures she had of Kobe whom she met in 2011 for a basketball exhibition game here in the country.
Much like his career-long LA Lakers tenure, Bryant was a regular celebrity visitor to the Philippines since 1998, only two years after his NBA debut during his late teens. His last was in 2016, shortly after his league retirement. Kobe was a fan favorite for his eager participation in seasonal basketball clinics and goodwill tours.
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News