Saturday, August 22, 2015
Kobe Paras goes one-on-one against Lebron James (Nike Rise VIDEO)
The first time LeBron James came to Manila two years ago, Kobe Paras dunked right in front of the the NBA star in a scrimmage at Mall of Asia Arena.
Then just 15-years-old, Paras was instantly catapulted into the spotlight after that highlight reel. People started calling him "the kid who dunked on LeBron."
A few months later he flew to the United States to pursue his NBA dream, and he willingly carried with him the expectations of fans after that meeting with the King.
"I'm just pretty blessed na nangyari 'yun. Tsaka I just really focus on my work and what I do, I really don't focus on the hype," Paras said.
Two years later they were back in the same venue, and the UCLA-bound teen admitted feeling starstruck upon seeing the Cleveland Cavaliers forward for the second time.
"When he was on stage, I was like, wow, LeBron talaga 'to," he said. "I've been looking up to him since his rookie year. Just seeing him really wowed me."
Visiting the country as part of a documentary program aiming to discover young street ballers, James joined the scrimmage between the final 12 kids, collegiate stars, and PBA players.
Paras, who entertained the crowd with his dunks in the first half, even got the chance to go one-on-one against the two-time NBA champion in the last five minutes of the game.
"It was crazy. Just seeing him again and just going up against him, s'yempre idol talaga," he said.
Paras said he enjoyed stepping on the same court again with James, who has been a huge part of his own basketball journey since that fateful July night in 2013.
"I'm really happy, kasi nga no one gets this opportunity every day," he said. "It was really fun."