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Organisers thrilled with Kobe Bryant UAE trip

LA Lakers shooting guard will tour Abu Dhabi and Dubai in September

Kobe Bryant
Image Credit: AP
Bryant in action for NBA team the LA Lakers.
Gulf News

Dubai: Organisers behind Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s planned visit to the UAE this year have described it as a “huge” boost for basketball in the country.

The five-time NBA champion will run a two-day skills camp in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in September. The exact dates are yet to be announced.

Commenting on the “Kobe Ultimate Fantasy Weekend”, Sarah Omolewu, Managing Director of Maven Marketing and Events, told Gulf News: “It’s going to be huge for the UAE and for basketball here. We are all so excited to host such a huge star and I am sure there will be countless fans who will be eager to see him in action at the event.”

Omolewu was speaking on the sidelines of the Middle East Sports Event Summit that concluded here on Wednesday.

Bryant had earlier announced his visit to the UAE on his Facebook page, which has more than 28,000 followers.

“I am looking forward to going to Abu Dhabi and Dubai this September for the ‘Kobe Ultimate Fantasy Weekend’ presented by Maven Marketing & events in support of diabetes,” Bryant said.

Omolewu added: “Bryant is such a huge celebrity. He’s a legend and to have him in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be a huge thing. We are convinced there will be a lot of engagement from the public and basketball will definitely benefit.

“We are still in the process of lending final touches to his visit in both cities. We should have more details to disclose in the next few days.”

A Lakers player for his entire career, Bryant has won five NBA championships. He is a 15-time member of the All-Star NBA team and a 12-time member of the All-Defensive team.

As of March 2013, Bryant ranked third and fourth respectively on the NBA’s all-time post-season scoring and regular season scoring lists.

Bryant’s off-court life recently made headlines. The man nicknamed the “Black Mamba” had to go to court over a dispute with his parents, Joe and Pamela, who were trying to sell off his sports memorabilia.

However, it recently emerged that the star reached a settlement with the New Jersey auction house charged with the sale. He also received a written apology from his parents.

Meanwhile Bryant, who had surgery on his left Achilles, was delighted to have his plaster cast removed.

“Foot on the ground,” he wrote on Twitter before showing a picture via Instagram of him doing exactly that.

Before coming to the UAE, Bryant will have to complete his rehabilitation for a return to the LA Lakers’ line-up for the 2013-14 season.