Ambassador Kobe Heads To Dubai

Kobe Bryant has traveled all around the world this summer, all in the name of basketball. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE)

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — If only a shot of Black Mamba diplomacy could bring peace to so many suffering people in the many hot spots of the Middle East. Kobe Bryant won’t solve Syria, but he will make a late September visit to the region.

Bryant will be in Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates, on Thursday to headline a fitness weekend to raise awareness for diabetes. The trip comes as Bryant continues to rehab from Achilles surgery and just days before his Los Angeles Lakers open training camp. In a phone interview with a reporter from the Gulf News, the region’s leading English-language newspaper, Bryant reiterated that his rehab remains ahead of schedule but that he can’t be certain he’ll be ready for the regular-season opener on Oct. 29:

“I’m feeling pretty good. I’m a lot stronger now than probably what I was a week ago. I’m getting stronger and stronger by the day and that’s a great feeling. I’m ahead of my schedule, and when the season comes around we will know where we are. I don’t know whether that means I will start the season. I hope so.”

Bryant is just one of the world’s great athletes to visit the Middle East, joining the likes of Muhammad AliPeleTiger Woods and Roger Federer.

“It means a lot to me. The NBA and basketball has really grown so much and become such a huge global sport. When I started playing, things were so different. But now I find that I can be an agent to affect positive change in the sport and in the lives of people through the sport I play. And that excites me. So I take this visit, or any other visit to any other country, as a great honor for myself.”

The rest of Bryant’s interview with the Gulf News is here.

52 Comments

  1. J-Short says:

    Big props to Kobe for supporting awareness about diabetes within the UAE. You can see more and more how he has matured as a man as with most people like myself. With that said it does not really even matter if he is the first NBA player or not to visit that country, just what he is there for.

    Kobe truly “one” of the great players of all time.

  2. jimbo says:

    Good PR gimmick for a player in the twilight of his career (why didn’t he do this 10 years ago at the height of his athletic career??). Hope he shares some of his millions with the poor there, that’s where he could really make a difference…

  3. Rick-Automatik says:

    THE REAL KING!!

  4. Troy says:

    KOBE, the best ever….

  5. Curry says:

    Kobeeeeee braynt

  6. Zain Khan says:

    NBA should use Michael Jordan to promote Basketball around the world. I, first came to know about the game, mainly hearing about MJ. Later on, as I started reading and watching his game videos, I came to admire the man. He not only made B-Ball well known around the world, but in many ways, became bigger than the game. Folks outside USA, didn’t know much about B-Ball but they sure knew the name Jordan. Legend.

  7. Zain Khan says:

    Great news, but I don’t think he is the first NBA player to visit UAE!! I remember reading about Hakeem and few others visiting a while ago. Hakeem even has a home in Jordan. Anyway, NBA is a global sport and it’s growing/diverse fan base is a great indication of how much potential there is. As a B-Ball fan, I admire Kobe’s talent and competitiveness. It would be great, if we had Majic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem and even Le-bron visit UAE. Cheers.

    • chitown says:

      I think Kareem goes there pretty often.I remeber reading in the newspaper that hillary clinton and Kareem met in a UAE airport while Kareem was on his way to hajj.

  8. Kome the Black dumbma says:

    So dubai let rap/ist in?

  9. rhedz says:

    Mj is the best back in his prime era, kobe was too back on his prime…but there is no question that Lbj is the best in this current era. So its abit stupid to compare players from different era. Kobe still got a few years left to atleast tie it up with mj in rings, while Lbj has 2 and got plenty of time if he works hard to catch up with kobe n mj…

    Its good to know that this global sports icons reaching out to the other side, giving back to the people is what’s important. Inspiring old and young and giving hope and spreading joy is what makes a true great athlete. I’m a Lbj fan n wade n iversons…but I salute kobe for his work n dedication.

  10. 24betterthan23 says:

    STILL THE KICKING BIRD

  11. BlackDove- says:

    Money People, not goodwill

  12. 2014OKC says:

    That’s cool.

  13. Mitra says:

    Great Job, Kobe! I always believe (like many other NBA followers) that Kobe already attained the status of one of the all time great players in NBA history.

    Now, it is good to see that he is moving toward becoming great player-cum-human being. That will matter more to the lives of his countless followers and NBA fans.

    Mitra

  14. grantley says:

    heart well felt go mamba fever you are a shining light in ever young and old ballplayer life ,lakers story mamba for life C.B.B

  15. bernard9 says:

    GO KB!!!!!!!

  16. Hadi says:

    Hakeem Olajuwon came to the Middle East back in the 90’s, namely to Jordan, I know since I saw him…

  17. Mohammed Yamani says:

    he will be in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday & Dubai on Friday.

    welcome Kobe in the UAE :)

  18. Duroy says:

    He is not the First Nba Player Visited U.A.E. Parker went here already and we have a picture with him.

  19. Dr Allison says:

    The more attention to the devastating increase in the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes and obesity in the UAE the better. These two health conditions are the biggest threat to the continued growth and prosperity of the Emirates. The present prevention and treatment programs are simply not working for the people or the public health care system. If something innovative and effective is not implemented soon the cost in quality of life and the economy will be virtually intolerable. Thanks Kobe!

  20. paulo says:

    Michael Jordan has been to Dubai… Get your facts right.

  21. celticfan says:

    Pl. dont compare kobe lebron to mj.

  22. Rafael says:

    A bunch of NBA players come to Dubai every single year. Kobe isnt the first or second or tenth. You always see them out in the clubs and restaurants. Dubai is one of the hotspots for Athletes and Celebrities alike.

  23. Banamah S says:

    You the best and keep up the good work, I am a Liberian.

  24. Marvel says:

    Come to Haiti Kobe!

  25. BlackMussu says:

    LeBron shines, but Kobe shines, too.

  26. Good says:

    Went To Dubai last Summer its awesome

  27. Rapido_ratrat says:

    only kobe do like this. hey mj, lebron.do u inspire people?kobe is the best

    • Pakyaw says:

      Inspire people?..hahaha.. Ask him if he got any foundation..we all know that he’s not that type of person(care giving).. He’s just popular global, that’s it..he doing a “business ” visit..

  28. Faateh Aziz says:

    I am actually going to meet him in Dubai!! He is coming to visit our school!

  29. Rotten says:

    Hard to believe no other NBA players have been to Dubai. That can’t be right.

  30. Aka the biggest brick layer in nba history

  31. 2014OKC says:

    This is where he shines these days. Anywhere but on the basketball court with a Laker uniform. Not bad.

  32. Black Mambaa says:

    kobeeee

  33. Very goods for Kobe and his mission of peacful

    We are at one month to NBA tip off and here we are ready for another exciting season. We going to win the threeheat again.

    Odon in his prime getting 10 rebounds per game
    Beasly from bench along with Cloe 20 points at least per game
    If James Jones could be more healty for defense he could average 2 triples per game plus tips.

    Well said.

  34. TDaY says:

    Love you mamba!
    Greetings from lithuania’s gay comunity

  35. bouhedli says:

    It’s Good

  36. Afia Konadu says:

    Big ups to kobe with all da gud things u are doin