Kobe Bryant is the man. Aside from bringing the Lakers to a ton of victories, he is also helping children through his After-School-All-Stars program, which brings cultural educational programs to thousands of young people living in low-income neighborhoods.
In LA alone, the organization serves over 5,000 kids. (Okay, ‘the man’ is a total understatement.)
See what Kobe has to say about the program.
Before this program, had you ever been to China or known about its culture? What have you learned?
I became immersed in China and its culture during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. It opened up a whole new world for me… I was amazed by everything I encountered because it was so new. I value the warmth and openness of its people; I respect their commitment to tradition and hard work.
Why were you interested in working with this program?
I have had the opportunity to have a very successful career, and I believe that it is important to give back to the community and help kids find opportunities that can give them a successful future of hope. A way to do this is through their passions, be it sports, dance, education, the arts, community service, etc. I’m trying to give back through the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation
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What's one thing you've learned about diversity from this?
Understanding other cultures makes you more tolerant of people that are different from you. Last summer, during After School All-Stars' 2011 educational tour through China, students were interacting with peers in Shanghai and Beijing who were their own age. That type interaction cultivates worldliness, tolerance and respect for other individuals not like you.
Choose anyone in the world. Who would you want to play in a game of one-on-one with?
I've had a chance to play with some of the greatest players of the game so far in my career.
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