Kobe Bryant thrilled to visit the UAE
But injured LA Lakers talent unsure if he will be fit to start the next NBA season Discuss this article
Basketball legend Kobe Bryant has spoken of his excitement about visiting the UAE for the first time.
The Los Angeles Lakers talisman is preparing to jet off to the emirates later this month, to host the Kobe Bryant Health & Fitness Weekend in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Speaking to Time Out Dubai exclusively ahead of the date, the 35-year-old shooting guard said: ‘I’m excited to be coming, it’s going to be a great experience.’
But when faced with the question on every fan’s lips – will he be fit to start the new NBA season next month? – Bryant was less adamant.
Currently recovering from an injury to his Achilles tendon which has put Bryant off the court since April, the star said it was not yet clear if he’ll be fit to play in the opening clash against local rivals the LA Clippers on October 29.
‘I’m feeling pretty good,’ he said, ‘stronger than I was. I’m ahead of [my recovery] schedule.
‘I don’t know [whether] that means I’ll start the season – I hope so.’
Ranked as the fourth highest scoring player in NBA history, excitement for Bryant’s visit to the region has been building for weeks. A post from the player on his Facebook page announcing the visit in June has attracted more than 16 million ‘likes’, attracting a level of hype compared to Justin Bieber’s Dubai gigs earlier this year.
Thankfully the star known to fans as the ‘Black Mamba’ returns these sentiments, candidly describing his excitement to be hosting events in Abu Dhabi on Thursday September 26 and Dubai on Friday September 27.
‘I’m not sure what to expect – and that’s the fun part,’ said Bryant. ‘You go to a new country and you just try not to have any expectation, and to learn as much as you can – about the culture, the people – as much as you can.
‘That’s the aspect of the experience I love.'
As part of the weekend Bryant will be coaching a team of local celebrities – including Virgin Radio’s Kris Fade and DJ Bliss – in a live showdown against a side of Real Madrid basketball legends, at the American University of Dubai.
Bryant isn’t optimistic about his Dubai players’ on-court talents, but was confident he’ll be able to bring his 'Team Black Mamba’ to victory.
He said: ‘You just have to put these guys in a situation where you maximise their efforts. If a guy can’t dribble, hopefully he can just shoot.
‘I have to identify the [team’s] strengths and weaknesses. Bringing people together – that’s the crux of coaching, or any management.’
To read Time Out’s full exclusive interview with Kobe Bryant, pick up next week’s Time Out Dubai or Time Out Abu Dhabi.
For more information about the Kobe Bryant Health & Fitness Weekend Celebrity Basketball Game, or to buy tickets, starting from Dhs250, click here.By Rob Garratt
Time Out Dubai,
- Martial arts(12)
- Rugby & Gaelic(13)
- Academic City(2)
- Al Barsha(1)
- Al Quoz(19)
- Arabian Ranches(4)
- Bur Dubai(9)
- Business Bay(3)
- Discovery Gardens(1)
- Downtown Dubai(8)
- Dubai Investments Park(2)
- Dubai Marina(46)
- Dubai Media City(1)
- Emirates Hills(10)
- Festival City(5)
- International City(5)
- Jebel Ali(14)
- Jumeirah Lakes Towers(4)
- Motor City(1)
- Nad Al Sheba(6)
- Oud Metha(20)
- Palm Jumeirah(11)
- Sheikh Zayed Road(24)
- The Gardens(2)
- Umm Suqeim(8)
Most viewed outlets
Our favourite features
Dubai's best burgers From diner-style bites to gourmet towers of meat
Best karaoke bars in Dubai Don’t save your singing for the shower and hit these Dubai spots
17 new Friday brunches to try in Dubai We review the city’s newest Friday feasts
Best new clubs in Dubai 2014 New openings which have outlived the hype
Where to eat in Dubai Marina Try a new place to eat in Dubai's exclusive waterside neighbourhood
45 budget meals in Dubai Where to dine with a friend and still get change from a Dhs100 note
Best live music venues in Dubai Listen to all sorts of live music at these great Dubai venues
Must-see Dubai sights Nine iconic attractions no tourist or resident should miss
The SMALLEST things in Dubai In a city known for size, we look at the more miniscule things in life
The most stylish restaurants in Dubai Eight fashionable finds in the city
12 best steakhouses in Dubai A veritable carnivore's delight awaits
101 celebrities in the UAE The most famous faces spotted in the emirates throughout 2013
Best selling albums of 2013 The top 20 sellers in the UAE: Who comes out on top?
Around the world at Global Village Dubai Stop and shop across the globe at the UAE's cultural park
Iconic Dubai buildings explained We celebrate some of the city's less well-known architectural triumphs