NYC’s legendary Rucker Park has had everyone from Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Michael Jordan make appearances within the last 2 days due to this year’s World Basketball Festival being held in the city that never sleeps.
Well the latest player to hit 155th was none other than Kobe Bryant who was at the Polo Grounds earlier this morning, which gave the group of kids who were already at the court practicing fundamentals a pleasant surprise.
After the kids snapped out of the daze that they were in after seeing the 5 time NBA champion, the kids got back into a Kobe led practice in which Kobe gave the kids tips on how to be a great defender, perfecting your jumpshot, handling the ball, as well as moving without the ball.
After about an hour or so of helping the kids at the Rucker with their game, he sat down for a Q&A session with Nike. Here are some of the highlights courtesy of DIME
After playing “four or five years straight” between long playoff runs and Team USA commitments, Kobe said he’s taking it slower this summer. Surgery on his right knee obviously contributed to that process.
Kobe talked about attending the World Cup in South Africa and working with kids over there, plus spending some time in China. He said he’s learning some Mandarin, but doesn’t know enough yet to speak it publicly.
On the influence of international players in the NBA, he said with the Lakers specifically the additions of players like Pau Gasol have made them a better team at passing, cutting and other fundamentals that often get overlooked. He said he’d like to see the international influence continue and create more “hybrid” players in the League who can do it all.
On USA Basketball’s World Championship team, said defense and rebounding will be the key.
Kobe said his 5th NBA championship was the hardest one to get, crediting the Celtics for being a tough opponent. He said along the way he doubted if L.A. could pull it off, especially in Game Seven. (“Can we really do this?”)
New York City is one of his favorite places to play because the fans are knowledgeable about basketball and there’s always a buzz and electricity, whether it’s at MSG or Rucker Park.
In the World Championship field, Kobe said Spain will be the toughest team to beat. “In terms of tough teams, Spain has to be that one.”
Kobe said his knee is “getting stronger every day” and considers this bout of rehab part of getting prepared for next season and attempting to three-peat.
After the Q&A session Kobe made his way to midtown Manhattan to Niketown for his next appearance and then to the mecca that is MSG to watch the closed Team USA scrimmage against China
Here are some more exclusive pictures from this morning’s festivities at the Rucker
And for those of you how may not know, this is not Kobe’s first time at the Rucker, he actually played a game for Irv Gotti’s “Murder Inc” team a couple summers back for Rucker Park’s annual EBC tournament. Here is a clip from that game
Kris Moyo is one of BSO’s most popular writers and comes from a long background of jive talking and pimp walking. You can follow Kris on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/IAMKRIS24