Kobe Bryant watches Manny Pacquiao train
Kobe Bryant appeared eager to study the footwork and scouting report.
It didn't involve, however, how Bryant would post up,attack the basket or defend. Instead he was studying Manny Pacquiao on Thursday training at the Wild Card Gym in preparation for his third bout against Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12 in Las Vegas. As the Philippine Daily Inquirer's Francis T.J. Ochoa reported, Bryant stayed for an hour, posing for photos with Pacquiao and then watching Pacquiao spar with three fighters through three rounds.
"He’s a nice guy," Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach told reporters about Bryant. "We talked a little bit. I enjoyed meeting him. He didn’t get a chance to talk to Manny that much because the training was about to start when he arrived."
The appearance went beyond finding a way for Bryant to keep busy during the NBA lockout.
The two have share equal admiration. When Bryant visited the Philippines for a two-game exhibition showcase in July, he and Pacquiao met beforehand. Bryant remains one of many Lakers who is intrigued with the sport. He and Ron Artest follow it pretty frequently, while Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom have actually taken boxing lessons. Because of their Nike connections, Bryant and Pacquiao have also appeared in commercial spots together.
Should a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight ever come to fruition, there's no question who Bryant would endorse.
"I love his tenacity," Bryant told Philippine reporters in July about Pacquiao. "I love his competitiveness, you know what I mean? So, Manny's my guy."
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Photo: Kobe Bryant tries to make a basket while playing in an exhibition game against professional players from the Philippines in July, 2011. Credit: Noel Celis / AFP/Getty Images