Dubai: American football legend Kelly Errin Herndon and rap star DeAndre Cortez Way, more popularly known as ‘Soulja Boy’, are the latest players to be confirmed on Kobe Bryant’s basketball team for his two-day visit to the UAE later this month.
Held under the patronage of Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Social Development and Chairman, General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare (GAYSW), the celebrity game, which is being presented by Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), is being held in support of diabetes awareness and will be played at the Knights Arena at American University in Dubai (AUD) on September 27 as part of the Kobe Bryant Health and Fitness Weekend.
Herndon, who is a cornerback and currently a free agent, is best known for breaking the Super Bowl record for the longest return of an interception when playing for the Seattle Seahawks.
Soulja Boy, whose hit single ‘Crank That’ went to No 1 on the US billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks, has also confirmed that he will play.
Both stars will feature in Bryant’s ‘Team Black Mamba’ that is scheduled to play against the Real Madrid basketball legends, part of the world’s most successful sports franchise whose value Forbes recently pegged at more than $3 billion (Dh11 billion).
Fans will have the opportunity to get a glimpse inside the mind of the five-time champion Bryant and witness first-hand his charismatic and humorous personality as he will wear a wireless microphone during one half of the game so the crowd can hear his every word. Assistant coach of Team Black Mamba will be Rachel Omolewu, three-time USA National Physique Committee overall figure champion and health and fitness expert.
The line-up of players on Team Black Mamba also includes Virgin Radio Dubai personalities Kris Fade and Brent Black, Mohammad Al Mubarak, deputy CEO, Aldar Properties, Marwan Parham, aka DJ Bliss, TV presenter of the ‘That’s Entertainment’ show and one of the region’s top DJs, Mohammad Abd Rabboh, General Counsel, DMCC, and Nathalie Junebie aka Chikay, a disc jockey at Tag 91.9FM. Two surprise celebrity players are still to be announced and one of them will be a former US professional basketball player.
The Real Madrid basketball legends will be coached by Juan Antonio Corbalan, a former Olympic Games basketball player who competed at the Summer Games in Munich, Moscow and Los Angeles. Rafael Rullan, President, Real Madrid basketball legends, will be the assistant coach.
The Real Madrid line-up includes two former US professional basketball players including Joseph Arlauckas, who played for Sacramento, and Zan Tabak, who played for Toronto and Indiana prior to joining the Real Madrid team along with other Real Madrid legends Antonio Llorente, Dario Quesada, Iturriaga Lopez, Jose Manuel Beiran, Jose Luis Diaz, Jose Luis Llorente, Jose Miguel Antunez and Lucio Angulo.
Tickets for the event, which is presented by Maven Marketing & Events, are available online at timeouttickets.com while an interactive official website, www.kobefitnessuae.com, has been launched to provide detailed information including a chance to win tickets.