Freshman makes legendary connection

Lolana Madrid secures $5000 donation from retired NBA star Kobe Bryant



After playing in an AAU basketball tournament over the summer, freshman Lolana Madrid got a chance to meet Kobe Bryant.


Freshman Lolana Madrid had the opportunity of a lifetime this summer – she had the chance to meet and play basketball in front of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

This past July, Madrid was scheduled to play Team Mamba, Bryant’s daughter’s AAU team, at a tournament in Los Angeles.

However, due to crowds and interruptions during games, Bryant rented a private court to hold the game. Madrid’s team ended up losing the game, but after she was able to share a special moment with Bryant.

“After the game I was able to talk to Kobe and get some advice on my game. He was impressed with the way I played and he was able to give me tips on a lot of new things,” Madrid said. “He even followed my Instagram.”

Months later when Madrid made the varsity basketball team, Darte shared with the team that they were in significant debt.

“We were short over 10,000 dollars from last year since we didn’t do the kickoff dinner, Thanksgiving camp, and the summer jamboree tournament due to the air quality of fires last year,” Darte said. “So we missed out on 10,000 dollars worth of fundraising and revenue. I tried to insulate the girls from our financial situation as much as possible.”

Once Madrid got word of the situation, she reached out to Bryant via Instagram through a direct message regarding her team’s situation at hand.

Bryant then responded with a request to donate $5,000 to the girl’s basketball program and followed through by giving the team a check earlier this month.

Coach Darte believes that the donation goes beyond the money and will give the girls extra motivation throughout the season.

“He is doing a lot to empower girls basketball as well as promoting sports as a way to build character for youth athletes, this donation goes a long way, not just the money, but the publicity and momentum for the girls. It’s not everyday that a legend engages with a local basketball team not even in his hometown,” Darte said. “I am very grateful for Lolana and this donation from Kobe Bryant.”