A Lakers fan’s charity results in a meet and greet with Kobe Bryant
When Kobe Bryant announced his campaign to help eliminate homelessness in Los Angeles, he inspired many to contribute.
Lakers fan Romina Rosas of Montclair was moved to donate money through Prizeo’s “Win a Night Out in L.A. with Kobe Bryant.”
“First of all, I love Kobe,” said Rosas, a stay-at-home mother of two boys, 6 and 4. “We support it just because we live in L.A., and we know how much it’s needed.”
She and husband Osbaldo didn’t expect to actually win the contest. In fact, she almost sent the notification email to her trash bin.
“I checked it off to have it deleted, but something told me to just open it,” she said. “It was 5 a.m. and I frantically started screaming, waking my husband up.”
The couple won seats to last Thursday’s “Kobe Up Close Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel” at Nokia Theatre, an event benefiting the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation in partnership with Cedars-Sinai’s Sports Spectacular. All proceeds went to support the organizations’ goals of eliminating homelessness and providing preventative health services in underserved Los Angeles communities.
“It’s amazing to see how many from different paths of life can come together in such a great way to support a cause that is really important to those in need,” said Rosas.
In addition to seats right behind Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, at the event, Rosas won a two-night stay at the J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live and VIP passes to the reception prior to the event for her and her husband.
She was also awarded a meet and greet with Bryant.
“I had been dreaming of meeting Kobe since I was 14,” Rosas said.
At the reception before the show at Nokia, she found herself starstruck by the faces she recognized in the crowd.
“There was Robert Horry, Robert Sacre, Mark Madsen, Terrell Owens and many more,” she recalled. “It was heaven on earth being with so many greats.”
Rosas nervously waited for her time with the All-Star guard, not quite sure what to expect.
“Nice to meet you,” said Bryant, as they were finally introduced.
The two were given the controls to EA Sports’ FIFA 14, and, as promised on the Prizeo website, Rosas got the chance to play a virtual soccer game with Bryant.
“I asked him if he knew how to play and with a smirk he said, ‘Nah,’ ” said Rosas.
Still, she needed a little more help than Bryant.
“Hey, I think you’re going the wrong way,” Bryant said as they played.
A crowded room watched as they battled to a 0-0 tie.
“Kobe, who are you?” yelled out one of the spectators.
“I’m the red team -- I’m an A.C. Milan fan,” Bryant replied.
They chatted a bit, about their birthdays falling close together -- Bryant’s is on Aug. 23, Rosas on the 25th -- and how they actually looked like they knew what they were doing in their soccer match.
“After five minutes passed, he was urged by staff to quickly take a picture and get going,” said Rosas. “I managed to get my ticket autographed by Kobe. Vanessa and Kobe were really sweet in our quick meeting and I will forever be grateful for their kindness.”
After Rosas got a picture with the couple, the five-time NBA champion left to prepare for the start of the show.
“It was fun. I wish it was a little longer, but it was good enough,” said Rosas.
Bryant spoke with Jimmy Kimmel for an hour, noting he’s unsure if he’ll play opening night (Oct. 29).
Rosas said she isn’t worried about Bryant and his recovery from a torn Achilles’ tendon.
“I think he’ll be fine,” she assured. “He’s a true warrior, so I’m sure he can do anything.”
Will he return at the same level he was before, as if he was never injured?
“I truly believe so,” said Rosas.
The Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation accepts donations through their website.
“It was truly exciting to meet one of the greatest of our time not only for what he does on the court but outside of it too,” said Rosas, whose decision to pay it forward left her rewarded in more ways than one.
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