New trove of YouTube treasures from Kobe Bryant's 1998 Philippines trip

I wrote a piece on the Ultimate All-Star Weekend for Grantland today, and in the process stumbled into some wonderful YouTube material that's still fairly undiscovered. Kobe Bryant traveled to the Philippines in 1998 for the first time, and I remember people talking about his trip, and how unguarded and fun-loving teenage Kobe was, while I was living in the Philippines. Ten years later, people were still talking about that trip. When I was writing the piece, I wanted to link to a clip of Kobe playing 3-on-3 in SM Megamall. It had been one of my favorite Pinoy hoops clips, mostly for the scenes where the barriers seem ready to buckle under the weight of the crowd, and for the images of Kobe being fun-loving but also pushing the streetball, "I'm gonna clown you" act too far. In the process, though, I found something I'd never seen before that knocked my socks off and set back my progress on the piece for a good 15 minutes as I watched the video over and over and just smiled.

Here it is, Kobe dancing the tinikling. Also, amazing how good he gets at it in a matter of seconds. Granted, once you figure out the footwork, going faster isn't that hard, but that's way better than I've ever done in my best tinikling efforts (and no, there is no YouTube video ome dancing the tinikling, although if I were smart and wanted to get some attention, I'd get to work on putting some up). Feast on this:



The same user, whywouldifoolyou (who is my new favorite person), also uploaded this humdinger of a video from the same event, where the one-and-only Ronnie Nathanielsz holds increasingly awkward interviews with Ronnie Magsanoc, Kenneth Duremdes, Poch Juinio, two Binibining Pilipinas candidates, and then Kobe himself. The late, great Francis M also makes an appearance. In the words of Homer Simpson, "Are you Ready to Laugh?"

Finally, more classic Nathanielsz, along with vintage Quinito. But the reason I'm linking to this video is the scene where Kobe raises the roof while watching an Alaska game in Araneta, and the whole crowd raises it with him. This is 1998, after all, and Danny I has them trained.