Basketball: Heartbroken Singapore co-captain Delvin Goh recalls the 'Kobe Effect' on him

Delvin Goh is the national basketball team’s co-captain and also plays for the Singapore Slingers in the Asean Basketball League. Here, he tells us the effect former National Basketball Association superstar Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash at the age of 41 last Sunday, had on him and his career.

Singapore co-captain Delvin Goh's (right) interest in basketball was sparked by Kobe Bryant.
Singapore co-captain Delvin Goh's (right) interest in basketball was sparked by Kobe Bryant.PHOTOS: EPA-EFE, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Kobe is my biggest idol.

I was watching him from the stands inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium when he was here in 2009, and finally got to interact with him when he came back in 2011. I was just 16 then.

We were told that we were getting a basketball clinic conducted by him right at the top of Marina Bay Sands. I remember him walking in and giving us all a high-five. He was a nice, friendly and humble guy.

He joked with us, shot with us, and did punishments with us after one team lost a shooting challenge.

I remember clearly him saying: "It's okay to miss a shot, you're not gonna make every shot, but never stop shooting."

MAMBA MENTALITY

My interest in basketball was sparked by him.

I was around nine then and I would watch his games, his documentaries and study what he did on and off the court.

I stayed up to watch the 2008 NBA Finals series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics because I wanted to watch him win. But the Lakers lost and I can still picture the way he walked back into the locker room while the Celtics were celebrating.

It pissed me off, but I knew he would come back out to get the championship for sure. And true enough, they won back-to-back titles in the next two seasons.

I loved the attitude he had - the Mamba Mentality - to focus on the process and trust in the hard work.

 
 
 
 

I felt I could relate because we lost last year's Asean Basketball League Finals at home and it makes me so hungry to come out and win the next one.

MOTIVATION

After winning Game 6 to set up the all-or-nothing Game 7 against the Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals, a reporter asked: "Are you happy with that opportunity?"

He replied: "No. The opportunity is not something that makes me happy, it's winning and taking advantage of the opportunity that makes me happy. That buzzer goes off and we're not victorious, am I thankful for the opportunity? Nope."

I'm still using this as motivation every day. My mobile phone's wallpaper is Kobe Bryant and this quote. They remind me that I cannot be satisfied until we win a championship.

He has had the biggest impact on my basketball career. My Facebook name is Delvin Bryant because of him. Before switching to No. 23, I had worn No. 24 for many years because of him.

LEGACY LIVES ON

When I got to know about the accident, it broke my heart. I had goosebumps and hoped it was not true.

Like many others, I cried, and crying over someone we didn't know personally shows the big impact he had on people's lives.

He was not just a great basketball player. He was a good friend to many, and a good father. He was more than just about basketball, he is an icon and his legacy lives on.


Delvin Goh is the national basketball team's co-captain and also plays for the Singapore Slingers in the Asean Basketball League