Lakers blog profile: RamneetKB24 views Kobe Bryant as a role model
This is the 23rd post in a series that helps you get to know members of the L.A. Times Lakers Blog community. Feel free to send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Screen name: RamneetKB24
Real name: Ramneet Singh
Occupation: High school student, writer for LakersNation.com
Hometown: North Haven, Conn.
Story behind your screen name: I grew up watching Kobe Bryant emerge as one of the greatest players in the NBA. He dazzled the crowd with his spectacular dunks and buzzer-beating shots. Kobe has given me a lot of great memories, and he has been in the league for as long as I can remember. He has been a part of my life, and I idolize the "Black Mamba." I have been attached to Kobe Bryant from the minute I starting watching the NBA, so it's only fitting for me to put his name next to mine.
How I became a Lakers fan: Growing up in New England is tough for any sports fan, especially if your favorite team is the Los Angeles Lakers. I have both Celtics and Knicks fans breathing down my neck, and it is odd that I decided to follow a team in Los Angeles. I first started watching the Lakers when I was about 6 years old, around the same time the Lakers formed a new dynasty. The team revamped their roster, and their two main stars were Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. One would guess that a little 6-year-old would fall in love with a 7-foot, 300-pound giant, but I was not one of those kids. Instead, I was amused by the skills and athleticism of the skinny young man from Philly. Kobe Bryant had something in his game that attracted me, something that made me throw out my Pokemon cards and buy a Lakers No. 8 jersey. From that point on, I knew what was important in life: basketball. I was glued to the television right after I came from school; however, my happiness ended when I fell asleep on the sofa around 8 o8clock.
It was tough being a die-hard Lakers fan at the age of 6; one, I had to stay up until 10:30 to watch the game, and two; I had a bedtime way before that. But nevertheless, Kobe and Shaq kept on winning, and I kept on enjoying the success. In the early years of my basketball obsession, the Lakers won three championships in a row and I was ecstatic. I remember the great shots and moments that occurred during the three-peat, and I remember Shaq's epic championship-parade quotes. Although the Lakers dynasty ended shortly after the three-peat, I continued to watch the team, and I have been a die-hard fan to this day.
Favorite Lakers moment of all time and of the 2009-2010 season: As I began to get older, my love for the Lakers exploded. I now had the ability to stay up and watch late-night games, which meant I could see the games live rather than asking my dad to change the channel to ESPN so I could see the highlights. However, nothing to me was better than a day game. The Lakers would play around 2 p.m., and I would not be drooling on the pillow when the game ended.
My favorite Lakers memory was when I was in New York with my family, watching the Lakers take on the Kings in Game 4 of the 2002 Western Conference finals. The Lakers worked their way back from a huge deficit and had a chance to win the game. Picture it, a house full of Lakers-haters, one Laker fan and a close playoff game. As the final possession was upon us, I knew the Lakers would come up with something special. My favorite player, Kobe Bryant, missed a floater, the Big Diesel missed a layup, and at that point my heart dropped. I saw the clock and I said to myself, "It's over." However, the ball seemed to float into Robert Horry’s hands, and the rest was history. The second "Big Shot Rob" nailed the three-pointer, I immediately flew off my seat. I may have knocked some food down, but I didn't care. You can't blame a young Lakers fan for rejoicing after he just saw the greatest shot in his life.
My favorite memory of the 2009-2010 season has to be Game 7 of the NBA Finals. I was a sophomore in high school, and developed the reputation of being the lunatic who loved everything Kobe and the Lakers. The day of the game was full of trash-talking between my family and me, along with a day full of bets in school. I had a lot riding on that game. If the Lakers won the title, I had bragging rights for the rest of the year, and all the Lakers-haters in school would have to bow down to the great Lakers team. The trash-talking didn't end in school. At home, I had to deal with two die-hard Lakers-haters -- my dad and my sister. The game started ,and I was prepared for perhaps the greatest or worst day of my life.
It was hard for me to write my LakersNation.com article on Game 7, as my fingers were trembling due to my nervousness. When the Lakers were facing a 13-point deficit, I said a few prayers to God and hoped for the best. My sister and my dad were thinking Boston had clinched that title, but they were in for a ride.The Lakers stormed back, and Ron Artest put the finishing touches to the game. As Kobe Bryant chased the ball in the closing seconds of the game, I screamed at the top of my lungs, and saw my sister and dad go to bed with their heads down. June 17, 2010, will be a day I will never forget.
Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: The most heartbreaking Lakers moment in my life has to be when the Lakers traded Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat. Yes, Kobe Bryant was my favorite Laker player, but Shaq held a special place in my basketball heart. Kobe and Shaq were perhaps the greatest duo in NBA history, and seeing those two separate was unbearable. I started watching basketball when Shaquille O'Neal wore a purple-and-gold jersey, and seeing him head to South Beach was horrible. We may never see a two-headed monster as the one the Lakers had with Kobe and Shaq. I will not deny it; it took me time to get over Shaq leaving Los Angeles.
Favorite Lakers player: No other player, no other person in this world (sorry, Mom and Dad) has influenced me more than Kobe Bryant. I have idolized Bryant from the moment I first saw him play on TV, and I grew up wanting to be just like him. In elementary school through middle school, I wore Kobe's jersey three out of the five school days. I did not care if there were stains on the jersey, all I wanted to do was show my appreciation for Bryant. Kobe has given me great memories over the years, and I cannot thank him enough for the happiness he has brought into my life. I have a collection of his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys, along with other memorabilia. Kobe Bryant has taught me life lessons along the way; his work ethic and determination has shown me that hard work is the key to success. Kobe Bryant, it is unlikely that you will read this, but I would like to thank you for everything you have done for me. You have been my lifelong idol, and I don't know what I would be like if it weren't for you.
Greatest all-time Laker: In my eyes, no other Laker has made a bigger impact on the franchise and my own life than Kobe Bryant. He has set numerous Lakers and NBA records, and is making a claim to be the greatest who ever played. Kobe has been my hero on and off the court, and there has been no Laker greater than the man from Lower Merion High School.
Last time you went to the Staples Center: The last time I went to Staples Center was the first time I ever went to Staples Center. I went to Los Angeles in the summer of 2010 and decided to visit Staples Center. Unfortunately, the Lakers had the summer off, after they won the championship, and the only team playing in the arena was the Sparks. However, I wanted to make the most out of my visit to Staples Center, so I decided to take pictures with the various statues outside at arena. I got to pose next to Magic Johnson and Chick Hearn. I didn't go inside Staples Center, but just being in the Los Angeles area was special for me.
Opposing team, player you dislike the most: Almost every Lakers fan hates the Boston Celtics and all their players -- I am no different. I hate everything green, and I despise anyone who wears "Celtics" on their chest. However, over the years I began to develop a hatred for LeBron James. This is partly due to the fact that I am a die-hard Kobe fanatic, but the recent moves James has made were incorrect. The method in which James made his "decision" really ticked me off. So LeBron and the Celtics are guys who are on my "bad side."
Interactions with Lakers players: Last season, I had the privilege to meet Jordan Farmar and Luke Walton. I was also about five feet away from Kobe Bryant. Even though Kobe was behind a car window, being that close to my lifelong idol is something to cherish. The Lakers came off beating the New York Knicks, and I waited for about an hour next to the arena's garage. My fingers were numb, but I was not about to miss a chance of meeting some players on the Los Angeles Lakers. Although most of the players got on the team bus, or hopped in a private car, Luke Walton and Jordan Farmar decided to explore the city. Luckily, Farmar and Walton saw one little 16-year-old with a Lakers jersey on, and decided to say hello. Our interaction lasted a few minutes, but it was the thought that counted -- thank you, Jordan and Luke!
Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: I do not know if this is destiny or the will of God, but the very first basketball card I ever received was a 2000 Los Angeles Lakers championship card. I just started to get addicted to basketball, and found an interest in collecting cards. When I opened the package, there it was; I saw the championship card and was beyond happy. I was hoping to find other great cards, but all I found were cards of Derrick Coleman and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: My entire life has been filled with basketball and the Los Angeles Lakers. I first started watching the game when I wasn't old enough to cross the street by myself. My love quickly became a part of my life, and now I am watching each and every game and writing about the Lakers on LakersNation.com.
I cannot pick one memorable story, because I would have to summarize my life from the age of 6 all the way to 16. Every game I watch, every debate I have, and every time I have fantasies of meeting Kobe Bryant are all memorable stories. I don't care if it's Game 7 of the Finals or the seventh game of the season, I will have a story to tell after the game. The Lakers have meant more to me than just being my favorite basketball team; they hold a special place in my heart. They are a franchise that has changed my life for the better. Kobe Bryant is someone who I idolize and someone who I respect dearly. I cannot point out one or two memorable stores that I have had. I want to thank the Los Angeles Lakers, Dr. Jerry Buss and Kobe Bryant for bringing endless memories to my life.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Lakers fan Ramneet Singh visited Los Angeles this summer, which included a visit to Staples Center. Credit: Ramneet Singh