Latest News, NBA, Olympics / Aug 14, 2010 / 11:00 am

Kobe Bryant teaches fundamentals at Rucker Park

After Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Michael Jordan showed up at Rucker Park for the morning session of yesterday’s World Basketball Festival, there was only one way Nike could potentially one-up themselves: Bringing Kobe Bryant up to 155th & Frederick Douglass for this morning’s session.

While a group of local kids were running through their paces at the Chainlink Fundamentals clinic, Kobe suddenly appeared in front of them — causing about half of them to freeze in their defensive slide drills while jaws hit the floor.

After the initial surprise wore off, it was back to business. Kobe shared his tips of playing lock-down defense (keep your feet wide in your slide), then made his way around stations offering pointers on jump-shot form, ball-handling, and moving without the ball. Between coaching, Kobe chatted with ex-NBA player Kenny Satterfield, and NYC playground legend Mike Campbell.

Kobe then sat down for a quick Q&A with Nike. Some of the highlights:

– After playing “four or five years straight” between long playoff runs and Team USA commitments, Kobe said he’s taking it slower this summer. Surgery on his right knee obviously contributed to that process.

– Kobe talked about attending the World Cup in South Africa and working with kids over there, plus spending some time in China. He said he’s learning some Mandarin, but doesn’t know enough yet to speak it publicly.

– On the influence of international players in the NBA, he said with the Lakers specifically the additions of players like Pau Gasol have made them a better team at passing, cutting and other fundamentals that often get overlooked. He said he’d like to see the international influence continue and create more “hybrid” players in the League who can do it all.

– On USA Basketball’s World Championship team, said defense and rebounding will be the key.

– Kobe said his 5th NBA championship was the hardest one to get, crediting the Celtics for being a tough opponent. He said along the way he doubted if L.A. could pull it off, especially in Game Seven. (“Can we really do this?”)

– New York City is one of his favorite places to play because the fans are knowledgeable about basketball and there’s always a buzz and electricity, whether it’s at MSG or Rucker Park.

– In the World Championship field, Kobe said Spain will be the toughest team to beat. “In terms of tough teams, Spain has to be that one.”

– Kobe said his knee is “getting stronger every day” and considers this bout of rehab part of getting prepared for next season and attempting to three-peat.

After the Q&A, Kobe headed off to Niketown on 57th Street in midtown Manhattan for an appearance. He is also going to watch Team USA’s scrimmage against China later today at MSG, although that event is not open to the public.

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  • Mr. TKO

    I’m normally not the type of person to get all worked up over meeting famous people but if you throw Melo, dwade Jordan and then topped it off with Kobe…… it’d be a wrap, I’d be the biggest fool of a fan you’ve ever seen in your life

  • K Dizzle

    Guess the knee’s comin along…….Yes!

  • http://www.remixcomic.com Nodizzel

    I wish he would’ve done something with the finger also, but I guess one at a time.

  • http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/703154723/the-soulchorea-project?pos=1 Kermit The Washington

    @ Nodizzel:

    Yeah, man…looking at that last photo of kobe holding the ball, I’m like “OH NO NOT AGAIN!!” LOL…his hand just don’t look quite right still

  • Nate

    Kobe Diem.

  • Zach Radz

    I was lucky enough to be at this event & Kobe gave me some personal advice on my lay -up form , one on one . He was real chill at the event & took a real hands on approach with all the kids .
    Thanks to Kobe & Eric Newman from Chainlink Fundamentals for an unreal experience .

  • ryan

    Nike pulled out all the stops. I was at Radio City and it was nuts. I hope they do this again like they are saying they will.

  • http://myreeReemixBowdem.com Myree Bowden

    You have the two greatest players of all time at the Rucker… recognize the credibility and legendary status of The Rucker
    ….

    MyreeReemixBowden.com

  • johnny

    i hope that kobe didnt rape any of them

  • B.Iggy

    Only kobe could rock a hoody in the middle of august