By Ben Rosario
Many are wondering who now has the pair of Kobe 6 rubber shoes that the late Kobe Bryant threw away to fans on his 2011 visit to the Philippines .
One shoe is now on display at the House of Representatives. Its owner? Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
Cayetano said it was his wife, Taguig Rep. Lani Cayetano, who was instrumental in getting him the memorabilia. She reportedly bought the shoe for him, and her husband, a die-hard Kobe fan, is not expected to give it up at any price.
Speaker Cayetano was among the Lower House admirers of Bryant who placed on display at the House of Representatives rear entrance their precious memorabilia of the late basketball icon.
The avid Kobe fan opened the “We Love You Kobe” exhibit at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Cayetano said that more than the souvenirs and valuable items now on exhibit at the Batasan, the Lower House finds Bryant’s Mamba Mentality even more precious.
Interviewed by House reporters, the House leader said the Mamba Mentality has served as the inspiration of House members to perform at the highest level of public service during the 18th Congress.
Cayetano said the Mamba Mentality which meant “be the best version of yourself” has rubbed off on House members as they have been trying “to be the best version of Congress that we can be.”
“Like all Filipinos, the tragic death of Kobe, lalo na po iyong kanyang daughter, teammate nung daughter niya, iyong pamilya ng piloto, medyo nayanig talaga ang ating mga kababayan (especially his daughter, her teammate, and the pilot’s family, our countrymen were indeed shaken),” he said.
The self-confessed Black Mamba fan said he has been collecting Bryant memorabilia for 20 years now, spanning the NBA player’s two decade career as an LA Lakers cager.
Himself a basketball player, Cayetano recalled that he even “had the privilege of watching” Bryant’s first championship at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
He also remembered that his wife found out before he did about Bryant’s tragic fate last Monday but did not break the news to him, knowing it would break his heart.