My Heroes: Kobe Bryant and Bono. Michelle Kwan, not really.
I don’t get star-struck very often. This is probably because I rarely see a celebrity in person. One time I ran into Chuck Finley in San Francisco but seeing as how you’re going to need to Google him before you’re impressed, he doesn’t really count.
However, I must mention the time I ran into Michelle Kwan. This one counts. She’s a world-class figure skater and I think she’s won multiple gold-medals and such. She is arguably the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history and in her hey-day, she was one of the most debated girls to enter the “hot or not” conversation amongst teens. (I was above all that non-sense but if you were to ask me now, I would give you a resounding “no.” But I digress.)
I ran into Michelle Kwan late in my high school years at the local mall near my house. I was completely shocked to see her walking out of this obscure, unimpressive shopping center with her mom. I was by myself but I mustered enough courage to approach her and ask her this profound and probing question:
“Are you Michelle Kwan?”
To which she replied, “Yes.”
It’s really her! Wow! My first official celebrity encounter! Gotta keep this conversation going! What do we talk about?
I managed to offer a “huh, huh… Hey…” followed by a pathetic grin that apparently let Michelle know I was a complete and utter loser. She rolled her eyes ever so slightly, her mother wore a look of cliched amusement, and they both proceeded to walk right past me. I continued to face the same direction, trying to figure out what just happened. I guess I was star struck and it got the best of me.
I felt like such a fool. I hate Michelle Kwan.
This is why I am preparing myself for future celebrity encounters but all that matters really are 2 people. My heroes.
1. Kobe Bryant
Why I want to meet him: He’s been my favorite basketball player since 1998, his second year in the NBA. He exemplifies excellence, hard work, determination, drive and longevity. He has overcome a massive scandal to continue to build on an all-time-great career and I have witnessed him grow as a person and leader. I understand that there are many Kobe haters who find it way too easy to take their jabs at him but I identify with him in many mysterious ways.
What I would say in our first encounter: Option 1) “Kobe, you have no idea what you mean to me” (creepy); Option 2) “Kobe, my man! How’s your family? (who says that on their first encounter?); Option 3) “Hey Kobe. I love you.” (there’s no way around this)
What type of relationship I would like to have with him: I’ve always said that I’d like to be his spiritual advisor slash best friend. Plus, I’d love to enter 2-on-2 tournaments with him and ride his coattails to championships. That’s pretty much what Luke Walton does year after year, right?
Why I want to meet him: He’s basically who I want to be “when I grow up.” He’s the front man for one of the world’s greatest rock bands of all time, he uses his large platform to lift up the marginalized and the voiceless, and he is one of the most unassuming examples of Jesus I have ever seen on earth. (Insert judgmental outcries here)
What I would say in our first encounter: Option 1) “Hey Paul!” ; Option 2) “Oh my gosh.” ; Option 3) “I have waited all my life to meet you! Do you have time for a cup of coffee or beer? It’s on me!” (how could he refuse?)
What type of relationship I would like to have with him: It really doesn’t matter. I’ll take any of the following options: Roadie, Gopher, Caddy, Disciple, Driver, or Sunglass Shiner. I would take any chance I get to become his friend and if that sounds pathetic to you, you’re right!
These are 2 of my heroes. Who are yours?