Posts Tagged ‘Vanessa Bryant’

Kobe Bryant’s Inspiring Work With The Homeless In Los Angeles

In 2011, Kobe Bryant announced the formation of the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps youth and families in need.

 

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We spend an inordinate amount of time during this part of the offseason detailing things like what sort of workouts a player is going through and where they’re vacationing.

What doesn’t garner as many headlines is the work they do off the court: conducting free camps for kids, donating their time and money to charitable causes and getting outside of their comfort zone every now and then to use their stature as some of the world’s most recognizable face to a worthy cause.

And as Lakers star Kobe Bryant highlighted earlier this week while walking the downtown streets of Los Angeles with his wife, Vanessa, wading into the midst of that city’s homeless community. Sometimes, as ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Arash Markazi makes clear, it takes the bright light that only certain celebrities bring to draw attention to a particular cause:

While Bryant was there he met a 58-year-old man, who has been in and out of the mission for the past year.

“He was extremely articulate and he had a great life and he made a poor choice and ended up on the streets,” Bryant said. “He came to the L.A. Mission weighing 135 pounds and now he’s healthy and his weight is back up. He’s 58 but he’s in better shape than I am. … You get to hear their stories and you get to find out first-hand what’s going on.

“This issue gets pushed into the backburner because it’s easy to put the blame on those that are homeless and say you made that bad decision and that’s the reason why you are where you are and it’s your fault. We all make mistakes and to just sit back and watch this and to wash your hands of it by saying that’s your fault, that’s not right and it’s not fair.”

On Wednesday Kobe and Vanessa Bryant arrived at My Friend’s Place, a drop-in center for homeless youth in Hollywood, which annually serves about 1,700 individuals between the ages of 12 and 25. They were there to announce the completion of the center’s renovation, which was funded by the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.

“This isn’t a popular topic or a popular issue,” Bryant said. “It’s one where you have to get your hands dirty a little bit. It’s not something celebrities easily rally around but this is something that we wanted to change. This something we’re all going to have to fight, it’s going to be a long fight but I’m in it for the long haul.”

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Kobe Says Keep Team Together

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – For those people advocating wholesale changes in the wake of the Los Angeles Lakers’ early exit from the playoff this season, Kobe Bryant has a message for you.

Forget about it.

The Lakers’ star made that clear Wednesday morning after his exit interview with Lakers’ brass at their practice facility. Sure, there are going to be changes. Phil Jackson is done coaching this team. So a new era will begin one way or another. But Bryant is convinced that the nuts and bolts of a team that spent the past four season winning (two), losing (one) and competing for NBA titles needs to return intact if the Lakers plan on chasing another ring next season.

Bryant said the much-discussed “decline of the Lakers” — as it was phrased by one reporter during the half-hour session Wednesday — is a figment of all of our imaginations.

“This is nonsense,” he said. “I remember [the Lakers] had a pretty good era in the ’80s and they didn’t win three [titles] in a row. They didn’t break that team up.”

Bryant said he’ll leave the particulars of where to tweak the roster to Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak, who was scheduled to speak later today along with Jackson. But he has no doubts this group can get back to its championship form with a little rest and refocusing between now and the start of next season.

“If you’re asking me do I believe we can come back and do it again,” he said, “I absolutely believe that we can come back and do it again.”

While so much of the chatter of the past three days has been about the Lakers’ playoff fall and inability to complete their threepeat quest, Bryant spent more time talking about the Lakers’ uncertain future and what it could bring.

He was clear, though, about what this season looks like to him now. “A wasted year of my life,” he said when asked to describe it.

Like every one of his teammates, he expressed his support for longtime Jackson assistant and former Lakers player Brian Shaw as the Lakers’ next coach. But he stopped short of making a pitch for Shaw and said he will not make a case for Shaw or anyone else until someone asks his opinion.

“We don’t know who’s coming back, we don’t know who the coach is going to be and we don’t know if we’re going to have a season next year,” Bryant said, referring to the potential of a work stoppage this summer, depending on how the labor negotiations between the players’ union and the league progress between now and June 30.

Bryant made it clear that he will come back energized and ready to go for his 16th season. In fact, while others might be staring at the inevitability of the end of a Hall of Fame career and thinking and reflecting on the five championships he’s won, Bryant has done nothing of the sort.

“What I think about is shutting up the mofos that say I’m done,” he said and smiled. “That’s what I think about.”

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