How Kobe Bryant helped connect Asian Americans with both Asia and America

first_imgKobe Bryant storiesKobe Bryant was proud advocate for women’s basketballPurple and gold lights from LA to NY and beyond signal superstar’s lossKobe Bryant lives on in inspired murals dotting Southern CaliforniaThe best of Kobe Bryant’s legends and tall tales with the LakersHere are the 8 people who died in the helicopter crash with Kobe Bryant AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersSouthern California’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community grew significantly in the 2000s, just as Bryant reached his peak with the Lakers. For many in the community trying to find their place in the ever-sprawling region, Bryant was their gateway to Southern California and its culture, to a classroom with few immigrant peers, to a family divided by generations or continents.And with the news of his death and eight others on Sunday, Jan. 26, in a helicopter crash in the Calabasas hills, several said they still find themselves mourning days later.“Kobe was our guy,” Josh Chung, 26, of Los Angeles, said. “Now, it’s all gone.”Complete coverage: Kobe Bryant helicopter crashIn 2000, Kim was dropped into foreign surroundings when his family moved from South Korea. He hadn’t watched many Laker games in Korea, but in Burbank he found new friends as he fell in love with the team just “when Kobe and Shaq were going nuts.” Southern California is “self-segregated,” he said, “there’s nothing that really holds it together other than sports.”And, you didn’t have to be a kid to find a lifeline in Bryant. Tung said her grandmother emigrated from Taiwan to the United States in the mid-1990s. Ready to move beyond the safety of a familiar mahjong club, her grandmother gravitated toward watching Laker games, Tung said.“She would relate to the small guys because my grandmother used to be a small guard too,” Tung said. “And she really, really appreciated that Kobe makes most of his free throws.”Her grandmother doesn’t know English well – she calls players by their numbers – but she and Tung can connect watching and talking about the Lakers.“It’s really been a connecting tissue,” she said.Shanahan came to the United States from the Philippines when she was 4 and has lived in Long Beach ever since. She remembers when Bryant visited the island country in 1998, dancing with the locals and checking out basketball courts.“It really helped the Filipino community feel close to him,” Shanahan said. “We don’t have a lot of prevalent icons, so he kind of felt like that for many of us.”Chung said he also saw a dedication in Bryant that resonated with him and a lot of his friends.“We grew up with people telling us, whether parents or coaches, you have to work hard,” he said, “and that’s that immigrant narrative that a lot of us saw in Kobe.” With limited English, 10-year-old James Kim broke the ice at lunch with his new classmates talking about Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, and how they took the Los Angeles Lakers to the championships in 2001.Now living in Long Beach, cheering for Bryant was how Anne Milo Shanahan’s family still connected with cousins back home in the Philippines.PreviousThe ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier is lit in purple and gold in honor of LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)Laker fans gather in front of a mural of Kobe Bryant on the 1300 block of Lebanon Street across from the LA Convention center in Los Angeles Monday, January 27, 2020. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 28: Fans leave condolence message on boards to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, 13, at a memorial set up outside of Staples Center on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Kobe his daughter Gianna, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash on January 26 in Calabasas, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 28: Fans gather to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant at LA Live on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 28: Items left by fans to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant at LA Live on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 28: Fans shoot baskets at a memorial wall near Staples Center in honor of former NBA great Kobe Bryant who, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, died January 26 in a helicopter crash, on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Kobe and “Gigi” were among nine people killed in the crash in Calabasas, California as they were flying to his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, where he was going to coach her in a tournament game. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)People mourn Kobe Bryant outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier is lit in purple and gold in honor of LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)Laker fans gather in front of a mural of Kobe Bryant on the 1300 block of Lebanon Street across from the LA Convention center in Los Angeles Monday, January 27, 2020. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)NextShow Caption1 of 7Laker fans gather in front of a mural of Kobe Bryant on the 1300 block of Lebanon Street across from the LA Convention center in Los Angeles Monday, January 27, 2020. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)ExpandAnd, watching the basketball legend run the court on television with her 90-year-old grandmother are special memories for Yvette Tung.“That’s what you talked to people about,” Tung, 38, of Hacienda Heights, said. “All of a sudden, you have integrated. You’re in LA now.”center_img “It was always the topic of conversation you can bring up to people,” Kim said. “Our core friend group was white kids, Mexican kids, half-Asian kids, but we were religiously following Kobe. That was really what tied us together.”“Ask a Korean” blogger who writes under the pen name T.K. Park moved to Cerritos from Korea as a 10th grader in 1996, just as rookie Bryant was emerging with the Lakers.“Just starting conversation was so much easier. You had to just talk about the Lakers,” said Park, who now lives on the East Coast. “It’s like magic, where you have to say a certain word and you gain admission into the society.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Dwight Yorke tells talkSPORT: ‘Give ME the Aston Villa job!’

first_imgAston Villa legend Dwight Yorke believes he is the ideal man to take charge at Villa Park following the departure of Tim Sherwood.Former Tottenham coach Sherwood was axed as boss after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Swansea left the Villans bottom of the Premier League table.The 46-year-old oversaw just six wins out of 23 matches in charge – the shortest spell of any permanent Aston Villa manager.Brendan Rodgers, David Moyes and former Lyon boss Remi Garde have all been linked with the vacancy, but Yorke has urged the club to give him a chance.The ex-Villa and Manchester United striker claims his intimate knowledge of the Midlands outfit will help him turn the Villans’ season around, despite his lack of managerial experience.“People are going to say I’m crazy for putting my name in the hat,” he told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast. “But I’ve been involved in football for a very long time and, having played for Aston Villa for ten years, I’ve looked at the club and seen the direction they’re heading in – it’s a dire situation.“Yes, Tim was sacked yesterday and that’s very sad, but it’s a situation that’s been ongoing for around five years now.“You look at the way Villa have spent their time in the Premier league, avoiding relegation just by the skin of their teeth. They’re bottom of the league now and it’s a very worrying time for the club.“You look at their squad and think they should be doing much better than they did under Tim, but the most worrying thing is that their main rivals in the table, the likes of Leicester, West Brom and Stoke, they all have better squads and for me that is absolutely crazy!“Aston Villa are supposed to be the biggest club in the Midlands, but they’re nowhere near. They think they are a big club but the reality is that Villa, certainly in the last five or six years, have been deteriorating rapidly and that’s why they’re at the bottom of the table.“People will say I don’t have any experience, but we’ve seen people with experience go in there and struggle to do a job. I know that club inside out and I’ve looked at the squad, there’s enough in there to get them out in this position and there’s enough time as well.“It’s whether the owners are prepared to give an aspiring young manager an opportunity.”Yorke believes he offers his former side something the other managers currently available do not.The ex-frontman, who was discovered in the West Indies by then-manager Graham Taylor and went on to score close to 100 goals in over 250 appearances for Villa, says his passion for the club and relationship with the fans will help bring a ‘spark’ back to Villa Park.He added: “You look at the managers available now, it’s a merry-go-round. In the 30 years I’ve been involved in football it’s been the same people getting job after job, so why are young managers doing all their coaching badges but not getting that opportunity?“There are young people ready to break into management and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t put my name in the hat.“Villa need something to really spark them up right now. I spent ten years there, I had a fantastic relationship with the fans there and I just feel when I look around at the managers up for grabs at the moment that they need something a bit more exciting to come in and really lift the place.”last_img read more