Thursday, 13 July 2017

Kobe Bryant: my school friend and teammate


In the early 1990's I was at school in Basel, Switzerland. I attended the International School of Basel (ISB), had done since 1987 and was thoroughly enjoying my time there. I was, and still am, a massive sports nut and at the ISB at the time I was on the school swimming team, I played field hockey at the local club but most of all I was into my basketball.

Almost every day I raced down to the school's outside blacktop basketball courts to spend hours and hours playing pickup, 3 on 3 basketball games with my friends and the local kids. For about 2 years there wasn't anything I'd rather do than spend every waking hour of the day shooting hoops.

At the start of the 1991/92 school year we had a new addition to the school team. A slim, tall, loping kid with the somewhat odd name, Kobe. Kobe Bryant. He joined the school because his dad, Joe "Jelly Bean" Bryant was temporarily playing for FC Mullhouse, just across the border in France. Initially shy and introverted, Kobe and his 2 sisters, Sharia and Shaya jumped into the curriculum with us. I remember playing volleyball with Sharia and Shaya, both very accomplished players at the time, as well as sitting on Joe's shoulders so I could dunk the basketball.

We entered that years Swiss International Schools Basketball competition and blew the competition away. It was just like you'd imagine it, Kobe slicing and dicing, spinning this way, killer cross-overs that way. At the age of 13 he was taking the opposition apart, most of them being 2/3 years older than him. All I did for most of the games was stand on the 3 point line and wait for Kobe to cut to the rim and dump it off if there was no way through. To be honest not far off the Golden State style of offence. Except they hit most of their 3 pointers. In the final we were up again Leysin, who managed to score themselves some legitimate Lakers game jerseys through a vague contact with Kurt Rambis. Their professional outfit only made them look that much more silly when Kobe Bryant and the ISBoyz tore them to shreds. We ran away with the tournament and took the cup home.

Even though Kobe ran the team on the floor we shared a real strong team bond. Our huddles were sharp and concise and ended with a "what time is it?! GAME TIME" before tip off and "SHOW TIME " at the start of the fourth quarter.


                               




Those careless days of youthful joy and happiness I hold extremely dear and as with many of my childhood memories from Switzerland, will stay with me forever.

What time is it.........SHOW TIME!!!


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