Kobe and Vanessa Bryant were honored with the Bill Sharman Humanitarian Award by the Toberman Neighborhood Center this past weekend for their philanthropic achievements.
Los Angeles Lakers President Jeanie Buss presented the award, alongside Lakers color commentator Stu Lantz, who served as master of ceremonies for the evening.
It’s always weird to be honored for things like this because it’s something that we should be doing anyway,” Bryant told LakersNation.com. “Nonetheless, I think it’s always great to give back to try to provide opportunities for other, to try to inspire others, so that they can be the best version of themselves.”
Sharman was one of the first individuals to give Bryant advice as he was coming up the NBA ranks and Joyce Sharman, widow of Bill Sharman, said despite being decades apart in age they truly respected and admired each other. For that, Bryant said being honored with the Bill Sharman Humanitarian Award truly meant a great deal to him.
In addition to the funds raised by the price of admission, tens of thousands were raised during both a silent and live auction (click here to see Kobe Bryant himself bidding during the auction) for the benefit of those under-served in the Los Angeles community. Bryant also encouraged all those in attendance to inspire the next generation by challenging them to figure out what their passion is. Then, to take it a step further and help to provide the services to help those less privileged to continue with and build on that passion.
Bryant’s rookie mentor and current head coach Byron Scott also spoke at the gala, telling stories about Bryant’s hard work and dedication, showing up at practice hours before anyone else on the team. Scott praised Bryant for his humility and eagerness to give, considering Bryant like his oldest son.
I look at Kobe like he’s my oldest son, somebody who I admire, respect and I’m glad he got on the mic and said don’t judge this team this year by the tickets you’re going to get next year, because believe me, we’re going to turn this thing around a whole lot faster than people think.”
During the event, one of the items up for bid during the live auction were a pair of courtside seats to a game next season, among other things like lunch with Nick Young and dinner with Byron Scott. During the bid for the courtside seats, Bryant paused the auctioneer to remind those in attendance not to judge the value of next year’s courtside seats off of what they’re seeing on the court this season, vowing next season will be “much better.”(Hence, Scott’s comment about Bryant grabbing the mic).
In total, the event was a complete success, raising a generous amount of money for those in need of services that the Toberman Neighborhood Center can provide. To learn more about the Toberman Neighborhood Center, head here.[divide]
VIDEO: Kobe Bryant Promises Team Will Be “Much Better” Next Season