‘We love you, Kobe’: House launches exhibit honoring NBA legend at Batasan

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives in the Philippines mounted an exhibit paying tribute to the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant on Wednesday, January 29.

The exhibit featured items from the personal collection of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who described himself as a big fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant played for the Lakers for 20 years.  

“We love you, Kobe! From the 18th Congress,” read one wall in the exhibit. It featured framed photographs, toys, sculptures, shoes, and jerseys honoring Bryant.

But the stars of the exhibit were a pair of black and red Zoom Kobe VI sneakers signed by the Black Mamba himself, and half of the blue Camo VI’s that Bryant wore during his visit in Manila in 2011. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Remembering Kobe Bryant’s Manila visits)

Also on display were Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 Lakers jerseys, which both bear his autograph.

"Personally, I’ve been a fan and collector no'ng kanyang memorabilia for the last 20 years. So 'yong NBA collection ko, sa kanya nagsimula, and I had the privilege of watching his first championship," Cayetano told reporters.

(Personally, I've been a fan and collector of his memorabilia for the last 20 years. So my NBA collection started with him and I had the privilege of watching his first championship.)

Cayetano said more lawmakers are expected to also put on display their other Bryant memorabilia in the coming days. 

"Ang hinihingi po ng members of Congress, 18th Congress, is to pray for the family members. Kasi klaro naman sa ating ang impact ni Mr Kobe Bryant sa sports, ang impact niya sa NBA, ang impact niya dito sa Pilipinas dahil nakailang dalaw siya, kasama ang aming siyudad [sa Taguig] at ang historic na Tenement building kung saan siya naglaro at nagturo sa mga bata," the Speaker added.

(What the members of the 18th Congress are asking for is to pray for the family members. Because Mr Kobe Bryant's impact on sports is so clear, his impact on the NBA, his impact on the Philippines because he visited us severeal times, including my city of Taguig and the historic Tenement building where he taught the kids how to play basketball.)

Filipino fans joined the entire basketball world in mourning for Bryant, who died in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California in the US along with his daughter Gianna and 7 others. (READ: Filipino fans pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Araneta Coliseum)

The Black Mamba, a 5-time NBA champion, is one of the Philippines’ most beloved basketball players. He visited Manila 5 times between 1998, his first visit, to 2013. – Rappler.com 

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.