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. 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."


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.


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.


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

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