Basketball has been a huge passion of mine and this is where I got my roots in the autograph hobby. The Los Angeles Lakers were in town one time and I had always wanted to get a picture with superstar Kobe Bryant, arguably one of the best in the game. He always has been fairly tough and in the past I was fortunate enough to be able to obtain a few signed items, but never the opportunity to have a picture taken next to him.
On this particular occasion, the Lakers were here a full day prior to the game and had a practice scheduled. Not many people knew about this, so upon arriving to the spot I wasn’t surprised to see only two other people there. We waited a little while until the team bus pulled up and players and coaches started to trickle out and get on the bus. Very few came over and signed for us, despite only three of us standing there. Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, and Luke Walton were among those that were nice enough to sign a few autographs. Head coach Phil Jackson walked on by and simply smiled when we asked if he would sign. Of course, he did not, and kept on walking. But, the main target for us was Kobe Bryant and we all had a common goal in trying to have a picture taken.
The bus door shuts and begins to take off, yet no sign of Kobe Bryant. Strange. We decided to wait a little bit longer anyhow to see what unfolds. It turned out to be a good thing we waited because a cab later pulled up and out walks Kobe to be picked up. We politely ask if he’ll take a picture with us and he said he would on his way back, that he was in a rush. We asked again to make sure and told him that we don’t want to wait around for nothing and he replies back saying he guarantees it as soon as he comes back.
We continued to wait around hoping that Kobe holds true to his promise. I never will understand why anyone says that they are in such a rush that they couldn’t take a mere ten seconds or so to snap a few pictures or even to sign a few autographs. It’s not like there was a large crowd, there were only three people including myself.
We patiently waited for over two hours, sitting around telling stories to pass the time. Finally, a cab pulls up and Kobe Bryant steps out. We ask once again saying we were holding him to his promise and that we waited for his arrival. He held his word and came over and took pictures with the three of us. He was unable to sign any autographs because of a device hooked up to his hand due to an injury, but we were more than satisfied. We put in the time and came away with a picture of one of basketball’s greatest players.