Kobe Bryant a matinee idol at Beijing Olympics

The Olympian: On Monday, Apirut and Apichok Saekow left Bangkok, Thailand, on Thai Airlines Flight 960. In his checked Fila athletic bag, Apirut had packed a smaller Adidas bag. Inside that one was the reason for their trip.

Then, Apirut brought it out: A Kobe Bryant Nike Uptempo basketball shoe. First series.

“Just to have a look at him – that is my dream,” said Apirut, who runs an Internet cafe in Bangkok with his brother. “Just to see him. Chat, chat. Anything with him.”

Brother Apichok wore a white jersey that read “Los Angeles” on the front and “Bryant” on the back. It was a knockoff. Instead of the traditional Lakers purple and gold, the lettering was light blue.

“I just want to see him one time – it’s OK,” Apirut said. “He inspire me.”

While going to the gate at the Olympic Basketball Gymnasium where they heard the U.S. men’s team might drive in for Tuesday night’s game with Angola – “Somebody told me North Gate,” Apirut said – the brothers ran into a kindred spirit. Wan, an 18-year-old who arrived in Beijing three years ago from North Korea, now a university student, stood by the gate with a camera hanging from her wrist. She explained her presence using the only English word she seemed to know.

“Kobe,” said Wan, who didn’t want to give her last name.

At this Olympics, Bryant is the matinee idol, inspiring rapture with a wave of his hand. Michael Phelps can win eight gold medals. Let Tyson Gay become the world’s fastest human. They’re all cruising in Kobe’s wake. In describing the mass shrieks and screams every day, his teammates use Beatles comparisons.

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Jaime is the co-owner and Operating Director for LakerNation.com from Alhambra, CA. He's help create the official websites for Kevin Durant and Goodwin Sports. Currently, he's the Online Producer for FOX Sports Radio and AM570 KLAC.
  • Kb_24mvp

    Speechless thats all I can say!!! hahaha

  • BringDFishBack

    Ok, we’ve heard this story over and over. This has been posted like 10 times. We don’t need to hear it anymore.

  • lyk13

    No, this is different, really different. For some weird reason, I tear up reading the article…literally…probably the emotions in me that boil around trying to think about the situation and how they got their wishes fulfilled….it’s not exactly a meetup, but I think the glass window helped push it alot further…he’s right behind it, you can’t get to him, he acknowledged your existence….that’s it man.

  • http://www.modenadude.com/ThaDogg Imadogg

    [Comment ID #48980 Will Be Quoted Here]

    They’re separate individual stories. I enjoy reading them, glad they’re posted. If you don’t like em don’t read em.

  • http://mrsfox411@aol.com FOXXY


  • yash

    Like the pic. It looks cool. and Kobe… WOW!


    This should happen to Paul Pierce for his comments against “The Great One”…