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(17)
- Arabian Ranches(4)
- Bur Dubai(9)
- Business Bay(3)
- Discovery Gardens(1)
- Downtown Dubai(6)
- Dubai Investments Park(1)
- Dubai Marina(44)
- 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(21)
- Palm Jumeirah(11)
- Sheikh Zayed Road(24)
- The Gardens(2)
- Umm Suqeim(8)
Most viewed outlets
Our favourite features
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
Hot new Japanese restaurants in Dubai Following a burst of new openings, we round up the newcomers
20 delicious low calories dishes in Dubai Our favourite feasts which pack just 500 calories or less
Pictures: Dubai from the sky We hopped aboard a Seawings flight to capture some amazing views of the ...
30 FREE things to do in Dubai From fitness trends to arty movie screenings, how to have free fun
20 celebrity chef restaurants in Dubai The celebrity-inspired restaurants that have come (and in some cases, go...
Massive new developments coming to Dubai FOUR huge islands off Deira, a 30,000-seater stadium, 100-storey tower, ...
21 restaurants to try in Downtown Dubai We dine our way down Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard (Emaar Boulevard)
50 best dishes of 2013 From budget to blow-out, the best our reviewers have been served in 2013
An essential guide to renting in Dubai Beat price hikes, pick the right area, and know your rights
How to get a pay rise 20 expert tips to bag more cash from your boss
30 top outdoor bars in Dubai As the temperatures cool we round up the best places to drink outside in...