Remembering Kobe Bryant’s 2006 Make-a-Wish visit with UMC patient

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Kobe Bryant touched so many lives, with his influence on and off the court unmistakable. He ventured out on his own to help people, fans and non-fans alike, after becoming a Laker.

Bryant was a Make-a-Wish partner, and in 2006, that partnership brought him to Las Vegas. It’s a story we’ll never forget.

On June 28, 2006, Kobe flew from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for a special visit at UMC. He met with 17-year-old Juan Carlos, whose dying wish was to meet Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Granted that wish.

He wanted to sit and talk hoops, and he’d even planned on playing a game of chess with Juan. But when Juan saw Kobe, he was speechless and could hardly tell the Laker great what he wanted.

Juan managed to ask Kobe if he could hold his hand, which he did, noticing the player’s watch.

At the time, Bryant felt bad that Juan didn’t open up more. But even the great Kobe Bryant got a little nervous by the hospital visit.

CHRIS MAATHUIS: “You were saying you were a little nervous walking him.”

KOBE: “Yea, I was. His family knew about it, but he didn’t know about it, so they kind of kept it a secret. I’m sitting there, the family goes in first, we meet and then his sister is standing there, and I can see the sister down the hall, and she was like, ‘he’s coming, he’s coming, he’s coming,’ so now I’m like, ‘all right, all right then.’ So then, he cuts the corner and his eyes just light up. So then, he couldn’t be over the top excited because of his medication, but I was nervous about it. It was like a playoff game to me.”

Juan got his dying wish and passed away two days after Kobe’s visit.

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