5 reasons why Kobe Paras is our hero
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 15, 2015 01:50 PM
(Photos by MJ Suayan for StarStudio)
At the most recent Nike Rise Tour bannered by LeBron James in August was another basketball star, and he’s not even in the NBA. Or, at least, not yet. Kobe Paras, at 17, with his standout skills iced with knockout looks, is blazing his own trail as the country’s youngest baller waiting to make it big in the international arena. We’re talking NBA here. Entertainment magazine StarStudio did an exclusive feature on this hard court heartthrob, where we discover some more interesting stuff about that make him our hero of the moment!
1. He has a solid career at a young age.
For those of you ignorant around the Kobe fuss yet, well, he’s following in the awesomeness that is his namesake Kobe Bryant—who, at 17, went straight from prep school to the pros and, at 19, became a slam dunk champion. Hailing from La Salle Greenhills playing for the NCAA Juniors, our Kobe was sent to Jakarta, Indonesia as the country’s rep in the 2013 FIBA age group. There, the then-15 year old leaper joined the dunk contest, where he showcased a board reverse dunk and an over-a-teammate-on-a-motorcycle dun. Videos of his sports spectacle went viral online, and it caught the eyes of coach William Middlebrooks of Cathedral Heights High who then invited Kobe for a tryout in their school. The rest is history.
2. His baller dreams bloomed later, but his fighting spirit has been there longer.
Kobe’s seriousness in basketball came in only in sixth grade, though he’s been playing since third grade. He would “cry when we lost in championship games. Dad would tell me, ‘Don’t mind it.’”
3. He looks up to his dad.
Here’s some shocker: Dad Benjie, himself a PBA star and one of the heroes behind UP’s sole men’s basketball title awarded in 1986, didn’t groom Kobe (or older brother André) in the sport! It was only when the Parases moved to a subdivision in Ortigas with a basketball court. There, Kobe and the other Paras boys would find themselves dribbling and shooting. Kobe would pick some skills and sports values from his dad, making the senior Paras his sports idol. “My dad Benjie inspires me because he’s been through a lot. He showed people na kahit mahirap ka, you can be successful if you just work hard. If you ask me who my favorite player is, it would be him talaga,” he revealed in the interview.
4. He’s a family guy.
One thing—uncommon to those who live alone away from loved ones—that happens to Kobe a lot when he moved there is homesickness. Yes, it happens to him a lot, as he learns to live the domesticated, independent life. It was much worse in his first year there, back in 2013. When he was feeling like ‘Ayoko na, I can’t deal with this, I’m coming home,’ he would call his folks here in tears. He would then compose himself again, thinking to himself, “Ang hirap naman kasi na iiwanana mo lang basta yung opportunity na binigay sa ‘yo.” He added in the interview, “So, I just took the chance and made sure to just make the best of it.”
5. He’s still your humble homeboy.
Kobe may be there living the dream, accepting invitations from UCLA (a dream school to where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also went), on his way to becoming a bona fide NBA star. But the “normal teenager” said in the interview that he’s doing it not just for himself but for his country as well. “I want Filipinos in general to be given the highest opportunity.” Right now, Kobe is already doing that. But we can’t wait for him to make us prouder!
This story was derived from a story published in StarStudio magazine September 2015 issue, originally titled "Kobe’s Got Ball" and authored by Tinna S. Bonifacio.