I recently received a great article from one of our KB24 members, fnmamba.  He got an interview with John Mercado, another KB24 member that was lucky enough to meet Kobe and have him sign a pair of his Zoom V’s.

On March 15, 2010, Jon Mercado got a chance to do something that many of the fans on kobebryant.com can only dream about. He got the chance to meet Kobe Bryant, talk shoes and basketball with him, watch him practice, and wish him luck. Here is Jon’s afternoon with the Black Mamba.

Jon works for the oldest athletic club in the US called The Olympic Club. It’s located in downtown San Francisco, CA. Most NBA teams use that facility for practice while they are in town. He works in the basketball department there and helps train kids, run basketball camps, and run the AAU teams. While working at the gym, he always wears a signature Nike shoe, and that day he happened to be wearing his Kobe V All-stars.


As Jon was escorting Ron Artest into the gym, (he normally doesn’t talk to players because most of them are all business) Kobe noticed his quick strike limited shoes. The first thing he says is, “You must be a real one if you got those, (those) all stars are hard to get.” Jon then went into the story of how he had to get those shoes and how much work he had to do to purchase them. Before Kobe started to stretch out for a light practice, Jon then had a chance to talk to Kobe about what shoes he would be wearing that night.

Jon had a chance to watch the Lakers stretch out and loosen up while Coach Phil Jackson went over their game plan. They discussed what to do during the game and how to attack the Warriors if they decided to switch to a zone defense. They also discussed what they could expect to see from their opponents that night offensively for about 20 minutes. The team then separated into groups of four and practiced simple shooting competitions around the court.

Jon was in awe as the Lakers practiced and showed off their athleticism. Working for the Olympic Club allows him to watch a lot of NBA players up close and personally, and he is always impressed with the size and skill these professional players have in comparison to everyday players at the local gym. “Josh Powell, you wouldn’t think had crazy hops, he was touching the rim with his head,” Jon said. You know NBA players are tall but you don’t expect them to be so mobile as well. Mbenga and Pau were also standing on the baseline behind the basket and practice dunking from there. The practice ended with Kobe Bryant, Shannon Brown, Brian Shaw, and Jordan Farmar shooing half court shots.

After they finished practice, the players got ready to leave and were happy to sign a few autographs and take some photos. Kobe was nice enough to sign a pair of Kobe V inlines he had as they walked towards the bus. He was only expecting to get one shoe signed, but Kobe grabbed the other one and signed it as well.  Kobe asked Jon if he had seen the Aston Martin Kobe V pack and then laughed when Jon said that he wanted them.  Kobe said that they weren’t released, and he’ll really have to hunt for them if he wanted them.  If he managed to get them, “he’d be a beast.” Jon replied that he’d try to get them and would show Kobe the next time he returns to there to practice.  He wished Kobe luck as he entered the bus which Kobe replied “Thank you, my man.”

That was an experience that Jon had with Kobe and he was very impressed at how cordial Kobe is with fans. “I am all for him now because I know he was such a great guy to me, he didn’t have to be so nice, and he didn’t even had to say anything to me. One of the best to ever play the game of basketball actually acknowledged me and let me feel like I mattered to him. Players are usually nice, but Kobe was by far the nicest of anyone.

Written By: Frank Nguyen

The above photo: John is wearing a red shirt, and below are shoes that Kobe signed that day!

  • kobeisgoat

    nice man congrats. hopefully i can meet the mamba also. I have his bruce lees and i work at foot locker to so i always recommend his shoes cause they are the best

  • kb24greatness

    Wow Great Story! Thats soo cool! ive been also lucky to see Kobe and I told him I’m part of the kobebryant.com family, he also said my Man!!! hahaha

  • jgh0st510

    Thanks Frank for wanting to share my story with everyone. I’ll never forget that day, and I hope everyone likes it, and shares more with everyone on here. Hope Kobe and the Lake show come back again.

  • fnmamba24

    Congrats Jon, Those shoes are very sick and I hope everyone enjoyed the article. Hopefully one day I’ll get a chance to hang out with Kobe.

  • http://kobebryant.com/members/markc/ Mark C.

    WOW!!!! Great story Fnmamba!!! Congrats on those sweet signed kicks Jon!!!! Its nice to have a real fan get some:)

  • http://kobebryant.com/members/asianstar/ 田轶群爱尚亚星

    Q_Q… Let me go on dreaming

  • http://kobebryant.com/members/capricdragon/ Capricdragon

    yeah man! Great article! Sounds like an awesome experience.

  • http://kobebryant.com/members/plotlaker5/ plotlaker5

    wow cool, i also got to meet him at the mall last month, but i was so shocked & i 4got to tell him i was part of kb24, except this is a new account. i forgot the old one. but where do you get those shoes?

  • saqrahman1

    I just realized. Lebron shoes are really heavy, but what does it matter to Lebron, he doesn’t worry about there heaviness. I just bought Kobe IVs. Why not Kobe Vs? Can’t afford them, but the 4s are still great. I just realized the big diference. Now I understand why kobe can just stay in the air for so long, on a lay-up, dunk, pull up, ect, whatever Kobe does. That doesn’t mean he’s nothing without them, but they’re great to wear. The low-tops can alter the angle of your lay-up and footwork. Thanks for the effort for these great shoes Kobe, but I would really love for the Kobe 6s to be somewhat a mixture of the Kobe 4s and the Hyperdunks. I love the 4s, but it only helps my footwork and pivot, while the hyper dunks helps my rebounding and lay-ups. Please take this advise, and this is from a young baller stduying your moves and feeding off your gameplay.And fans, take the kobe shoes, they can improve your athlethism in your basketball gameplay. Way better than the lebrons. If i were Lebron, i would jock kobe’s shoes.

  • http://kobebryant.com/members/lakersmc/ LakersMC

    Great story! Congrats! Nice to see KB showing love to his real fans!

  • http://kobebryant.com/members/kobezwifeey/ kobezwifeey

    Congrats Jon! You are sooo lucky to have met the mamba himself! That’s dope! & an experience to neveeerrr forget! ;]] wish everyone knew how much of a good person he is! Especially the haters! “My man…” haha. How cuteee!! =]]

  • sanbudeyu

    lucky fans,beautiful shoes…

  • saqrahman1

    Lol, I wish wasn’t just a fan of kobe but a friend. Its funny how they know their model, yet their model never knows them. Aaahh, the fame.

  • http://kobebryant.com/members/ladykobe/ Lady KOBE

    That was a nice article. I know i will get to meet KOBE sooner or l8r, my cuzin is tight with Kevin Durant. I LUV YOO KOBE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://kobebryant.com/members/martinamalka/ martina

    What a nice story. Thanks for sharing your great experience, and it sounds like you will have more like that one in the future. Kobe is a good guy for sure, and he lights up the room when he smiles with his beautiful spirit, and his pearly whites, too.

  • http://kobebryant.com/members/dsl10/ crazy fan of KB24

    ohhh people u are soo lucky.
    i wish that one day I can meet him too,or at least to see him “live”
    and not only in pictures. ahhhhh i am going to take a nap and to dream about this….
    kobe u r a great person

  • tomynba

    Kobe I have a question for you. When will you visit Romania? Because I am a big fan of you and I leave in Romania in Satu Mare. This is one of my big dreams: to meet you and to play for the LAL !!!