Los Angeles-Kobe Bryant met with the media on Wednesday, along with his wife, Vanessa Bryant, at “My Friend’s Place,” a homeless, youth-based center in Hollywood. The center serves over 1,600 homeless youths annually between the ages of 12-25. Hundreds of young people have been able to land on their feet because of the work of “My Friend’s Place.”
The purpose of the star couple’s visit, along with that of Los Angeles County Third District Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, is to once again call attention to the plight of homeless youth in the city of Los Angeles. During the visit Bryant talked about how proud he was to be part of a program that targets helping youth and young adults live a self sufficient lifestyle.
After Bryant spoke about what he’s witnessed since becoming a part of the program, we learned that there are over 5,000 homeless youth living on the streets of Los Angeles, mainly in the downtown area which is only blocks away from the Staples Center where the Lakers star plays basketball.
Bryant has had a superb basketball career. He’s won gold medals and championships, but that’s not all he wants to be remembered by. He has the power to change lives.
“At the end of my career, I want to look back and say that I had a successful career because I won so many championships or scored so many points, but there’s something else you need to do with that, Bryant said. “I don’t want to be too cheesy and quote Spider Man, ‘Great power comes with great responsibility,’ and that’s something we have to live by.”
It’s very refreshing to see athletes with big hearts off the court. There are not enough outlets that give events like this coverage. Bryant started the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation last year to help abolish the homelessness. This was a very brilliant idea by the couple because Los Angeles is one of the biggest cities in the world that have the highest rate when it comes to homelessness.
As we all know Bryant isn’t a sympathetic guy on the court, he’s actually something fierce to be reckoned with. But when it comes to the homeless situation, Bryant shows off a gentler and caring side that a few people get to see.
Athletes shouldn’t only be praised for their agility, skills, and talent but analyzed as a human being. You see the media is too busy looking for negative stories to write sometimes they can overlook good stories to tell like this one. Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.
There are a lot of athletes that don’t get recognized for doing this type of work. We can sit here and say that they’re supposed to provide financial assistance and give to the needy because they are paid millions, but that’s not true. No one is entitled to give you anything, it doesn’t matter how much money they have or make.
It’s all about what type of person you’re and how big your heart is.
We have got to find more ways and time to acknowledge athletes who give back off-the-field. We value players for what they are on the court and field and forget about them as a person. They don’t just make a difference in the sports world, they changes lives in the community. Bryant, who walked the streets of Skid Row, is leading the way.
“I got a lot of people saying, ‘Come help us out I want to change my life around,’ ”said Bryant. “My response was, ‘Well, that’s why I’m here.’ “