The Summer Olympics are here. I had the chance to go to Brazil and visit Rio de Janeiro for training camp a couple of years ago. While we were there, my wife and I had a beautiful experience at Christ the Redeemer at sunrise. Our hotel offered a private tour, and it was early—we had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning—but seeing the view from that point was unbelievable. We ate breakfast and took everything in before the day got too hot.
This year’s Olympics got me thinking and reminiscing about my own Olympic experience. It’s such a fond memory, participating in Beijing in 2008 and winning a gold medal. I had the opportunity to play with tremendously talented guys—some true basketball legends—and help get USA back to the top.
Beyond playing basketball, I really immersed myself in the whole Olympic experience. It is so much more than competing. It’s a place where athletes represent their respective countries and compete against other top athletes from all over the world. It’s a place where people’s dreams come true.
My favorite part was hanging out in the Village and talking to other athletes. It was interesting because I play basketball as a profession, but not everyone does that. Not everyone does archery or weight lifting or whatever event they’re competing in as a profession. I talked to so many people who were also police officers, firefighters, lawyers, doctors, mothers, fathers, construction workers, office workers—so many people from so many different walks of life. My time at the Olympics allowed me to connect with people of the world and discover those commonalities we all share.
Along with the conversations and connections, trading pins is a huge thing. Each athlete receives pins representing their country to trade with other athletes. The pins I collected—I need to find them in storage and look through them again—are from all over the world. I’d say the most unique or surprising pin I received was from Micronesia, a group of islands in the Pacific. I had never heard of Micronesia before then, but thanks to the Olympics, I met someone from there who was competing in swimming.
Participating in the Olympics was such a special time. It was really a life-changing time for me, and I’m very appreciative of that experience. Yes, I had the chance to go to Beijing and represent my country. But for me, it was also about personal growth. It was about taking in all the beauty and passion the USA has and seeing how we share that beauty and passion when the world is watching. It was about seeing firsthand how amazing Beijing is—the culture, the people, the history. And I got to play with LeBron, Kobe, Dwayne, Carmelo, great basketball minds like Tayshaun Prince and Jason Kidd. I got to play ball with my friends.
Now, this summer, watching the USA basketball team compete at a global level and seeing that look in their eyes, seeing that it’s so special to them—it brings me back. I know that feeling. Being a part of the Olympics was a dream come true for me. I watched the Summer Games every four years as a child. I watched the Dream Team and envisioned myself up on that podium winning a gold medal. So to do that—to step up on that podium and hear the national anthem and win a gold medal—was completely surreal. Today, I wish all the athletes well and I continue to hope that their own dreams come true in Rio and beyond.
As a parent, I’m responsible for guiding and teaching my kids. But I’ve learned a lot from them. Their innocence and honesty are refreshing. Their fresh perspectives are inspiring. And their energetic spirits challenge me in a very positive way.
The absolute, number-one thing I’ve learned from raising five kids under seven years old is patience. I’ve learned to be understanding of who they are and where they’re coming from. My oldest son, for instance, is only four years old—he’s only been on this earth for four short years—so I have to remember that. Everything is new to him.
When the kids misbehave, I’m responsible for teaching them the difference between right and wrong. They need to learn those important lessons. But I have to do it in a way that keeps in mind their age, their experience, their mindset. I try to look at each situation through their eyes.
As a result, I’ve become more understanding with myself too. If I’m struggling or facing failure, I think about how long I’ve been doing whatever I’m trying to do. For example, I’m learning how to play the guitar. When I get frustrated, I remember I’ve only been playing for a short time. I’m like a child. With that in mind, I give myself some grace, just as I give it to my kids.
Looking at the world through their eyes has also kept me from becoming jaded. As adults, we get busy and move through life so quickly and don’t really see the world around us. We forget to appreciate the small things—or the big things—and get caught up in our emotions. But kids aren’t like that. They notice a glorious sunset and say, Look at that! and get our attention. To them, the world is an amazing place with new, awe-inspiring experiences around every corner.
I’ve learned that kids do listen. They do learn. They’ll repeat back to me different things I’ve said to them. One time, my son overheard me on the phone. I was having a pretty candid conversation—not cursing or anything, but I got a little aggressive—and when I hung up, he said, “Daddy, be nice.” Or I’ll often remind the kids to be careful when they’re being adventurous and possibly moments away from cracking their heads open. And they’ll say it to me—“Daddy, be careful.”
We are examples for our kids. We influence them in the way we live and act. Adrienne says she catches my son watching me and imitating me. I don’t always see it, but that’s an important lesson for me. It’s a reminder to view myself from a child’s perspective and to act accordingly. They’re listening, watching, taking it all in. I need to live up to that responsibility. I need to listen more, watch more, take it all in, just as my kids do.
While our children are still young, we’re just getting started on building traditions. Part of that involves the kitchen—making and enjoying good food.
When I was growing up, my family would always cook Tex-Mex at my aunt’s house on Christmas Eve. The neighbors down the street would make authentic Mexican tamales to share with the whole gang, and we’d all eat and open presents.
Those memories have inspired me to start incorporating more food-related traditions into my own family, whether that means cooking or baking together, gathering around the table to eat a certain type of meal or creating special recipes that we make over and over again.
Holiday time can be tough with traveling and work obligations, but summertime is perfect for family barbeques and eating meals outdoors. I feel like we’re starting a tradition of sorts with grilling. It’s an easy way to cook and serve up a meal, and it’s a crowd-pleaser when it comes to the kids.
Our children love to cook, even if they’re doing something as simple as boiling water or stirring a bowl. It’s fun to get them interested in food and spend that time together. We actually make cupcakes at least once a week in our house. It’s sometimes the first thing we do at home after we get back from a trip, even if it’s only 10 a.m. My oldest daughter absolutely loves cupcakes, and now that we make them so often, the kids are starting to want to do it themselves without any help.
I appreciate food and enjoy learning about new recipes, flavors and techniques. To be able to pass that love of cooking along to my kids and make it something we all do as a family is even better. Family cooking traditions and those shared meals of my childhood are a part of who I am today. I can’t wait to create the same type of memories with my own family.
Music and I have a bond, a relationship that’s grown and evolved over the years. There wasn’t really just one moment when I fell in love with it; it was something that started when I was young and then developed with each phase of my life.
My earliest memories of music involve my parents. They’d listen to all that oldies style stuff—Motown, Al Green, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Kool Moe Dee and Cameo. My dad also listened to music as a way to relax, especially as he headed home from work in the car. He’d tune in to “The Oasis,” a smooth jazz station in Dallas, which introduced me to musicians like Wes Montgomery, Sade and Kenny G. And his record collection was eclectic—everything from old school rap to rock and roll, Led Zeppelin and ACDC.
After my parents introduced me to their music, I started to expand my tastes and learn about different genres myself. Growing up, I listened to a lot of hip hop and R&B on the radio with my brother and friends. I’d say that’s kind of my musical foundation. The first album I bought with my own money was “Enter the Dru” by Dru Hill and it was a cassette! Then in the late 90s and early 2000s, I got into alternative music and some of those songs and bands from MTV and the movie soundtracks of the time. As I traveled, music revealed more about the culture of each new place. For example, in Toronto, soulful music with a reggae and Caribbean influence was everywhere, so I discovered a whole new genre while I was there.
My relationship with music then grew alongside my relationship with my wife, Adrienne. While we were dating, we’d send each other a “song of the day,” which usually clued us in to how the other person was feeling that particular day. I shared some of the hip hop and jazz I knew and loved, and she exposed me to a lot of pop and classic rock, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, White Stripes, Fleetwood Mac. She also loves 90s era alternative, so because I’d had a taste of that genre earlier on, we had some common ground too. Music was a conversation starter and a way to learn about each other’s backgrounds and interests.
More recently, I’ve become really interested in live music—concerts, festivals, other venues. Seeing performers and bands like ACDC, The Weeknd, Florence + the Machine, Drake and others and hearing their music live has given me a completely new approach to experiencing music. We recently went to Glastonbury, a huge multi-day music festival outside London, and got to see so many incredible performances—from Kanye West to The Who. We saw Steel Pulse live and they’re awesome! And I found out about an artist named Tricky out of England. The music is electronic mixed with hip hop, and even though there were only a few people in the crowd, it was a good show.
Beyond that, I’m also learning more about electric music and great DJs. I got into electronic/trance music when I was going out a lot more and hanging with friends. I still enjoy it now—though I don’t have to be at a rave or a club to enjoy it—and I’m finding out about more DJs too. This genre and culture is newer to me, but I love that the world of music is so large and varied.
There’s always something new to discover. The lyrics, the melody, the harmony, the rhythm—it all works together to communicate something. If you just open yourself up to it, you too can fall in love.
For me and my family, travel always has to include some kind of adventure. To really take in a new place and explore all it has to offer, we have to get outside of our comfort zones a bit. Experiencing a different culture, environment, history, foods and wildlife makes traveling that much more fun.
When I reflect back on some of the spots we’ve visited, I can’t help but notice all of the opportunities for adventure. Some of these are experiences I’ve personally had, while others are simply cool things I’ve seen or heard about. As much as I’d like to try anything and everything, I also have to play it safe sometimes to prevent possible injuries and keep myself healthy.
In Italy, the varied landscape—with all its mountains, valleys, beaches, cliffs, islands—lends itself perfectly to any type of activity. Whether you enjoy swimming, boating or fishing, you’ll find an ideal spot to do just that. Or you could put on the scuba gear and check out the coral reefs and other sea life. And there are plenty of ancient ruins, beautiful architecture and historical places to tour. When you get hungry from all your adventures, Italy offers some awesome authentic food—so far, in my opinion, the best in the world. The bottom line: Italy is one of those destinations that can fulfill your vacation wishes no matter what they might be.
While visiting Sri Lanka, we stayed right in the midst of the jungle. Being a part of that environment gave us an up-close-and-personal view of the country. Speaking of “up close,” we also got a chance to feed baby elephants. These not-so-little guys were each the size of a massive truck and could guzzle five gallons of milk in about 15 seconds—definitely a memorable moment. Of course, we also enjoyed the adventure of climbing Lion Rock, which turned out to be the highlight of our trip.
Seeing different animals in their natural habitats is such a cool experience. On a safari in South Africa, we spotted all kinds—lions, hyenas, gorillas, rhinos, giraffes, even a rare sighting of a honey badger. The African elephants were huge, the size of a bus. And surprisingly, the hippos were the most dangerous animals we saw. Their mouths have the ability to crush basically anything, so they’re deadly.
The key to creating your own adventurous getaway is as simple as saying yes to any and every experience that comes your way. Take advantage of opportunities to try something new. Explore, experiment, branch out. No matter where you go, you can always find a way to incorporate a little taste of adventure.
I recently bought a Ms. Pac-Man and a Galaga arcade machine. There’s something so nostalgic and fun about playing games I once enjoyed as a kid in the ’80s.
I remember how my dad would take us kids to the West End in Dallas, a historical district full of different tourist attractions, bars, two-stepping dance halls and arcades. We’d go every Friday when there was enough money to go. My goal was always to beat the high score, and I’d save up tokens to play certain games. Those happy days, just being a kid and having a good time, all come back to me when I play those games now as an adult.
My interest in owning some games myself started after I spent some time at Dwayne Wade’s house. We’re neighbors and he has a Ms. Pac-Man machine, so we like to get together and just kick back. Gabrielle Union even has this ongoing Ms. Pac-Man rivalry with a bunch of her friends—we’re always trying to beat each other’s high scores. It’s funny because even though you might be playing the game on your own, it can bring out some friendly competition and provide a fun challenge.
Old-school games seem to bring people together. Even if someone has never played before, the games from my childhood are usually pretty easy to catch onto. One of my friends, who I met back in high school, recently picked up some old PlayStation and Nintendo systems and games. Playing those types of games really makes me feel like a kid again. It’s a fun, low-key way to escape the adult world for a bit and bond with an old friend.
I was really excited to bring a piece of my childhood into my home. As an adult, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to play, to be like a kid again. That’s why I love seeing my children have fun and be silly and discover new things. Through a couple of old arcade machines, I’m able to capture that carefree feeling and experience it again myself.
It was the summer of 2000. I was 16 and wanted some money in my pocket because my mom and dad had bills to pay. Like most teenagers, I was ready for some independence, so relying on my parents to give me money for my own leisure activities wasn’t very smart. I wanted to do the things I wanted to do.
I applied for my very first job at Blockbuster Video. A week or so later, I found out that I got the job and started training. Over the course of my time there, I learned a lot—lessons that shaped my money mindset, my work ethic and my career outlook to this day:
1. Work is work
At the time, I thought working a full-time week was easy. I was wrong! I definitely underestimated how tedious and tiring a job can be. That first week on the job in training, I was exhausted.
2. How to handle strange comments
I guess it’s bizarre to see a 6-foot-9-inch kid working at a video store. Customers always thought I was standing on something when I worked the cash register or asked me if I was really that tall. I got used to it after a while. One important tip for interacting with people of above-average height: Refrain from tall jokes, especially “How’s the weather up there?” That one’s the worst!
3. The importance of saving
It wasn’t until I actually received my first paycheck that I got excited about working. I think my check was around $350 or $400, but it felt like way more than that. My father drove me to pick it up and told me that I had to deposit at least half of the money into my bank account before we went home. That hurt because I wanted to blow the whole thing at the mall. But it was a good lesson to learn. My dad also taught me about growing interest with bank accounts. I think mine only earned just over 1 percent, but understanding the concept of “interest” would help me out later. I ended up turning pro with that bank account still there.
4. People skills
I worked at Blockbuster for about four months in total. I learned quite a bit working in a customer service position. It was tough, but I learned how to deal with different people—managers, customers, other employees. And I found out that a lot of guys lie about their late fees.
5. The value of your own money
I saved up my money all summer for my back-to-school shopping. I thought it was going to be the best year ever fashion-wise! But I discovered that clothes are a lot cheaper when you’re not spending your own money. I pretty much spent my entire savings in one afternoon of shopping. That experience—seeing how quickly my hard-earned dollars could be spent—helped build a foundation for my money mindset from that point on.
6. When to move on
I continued working part-time during the school year until I got tired of missing our football games. All the college kids who had been working during the summer had left, and I didn’t really like working with any of the other guys or managers. I had to stop. Working from 6 pm until close every night was too much with my school commitments, and the word “close” never meant the same thing. Sometimes we’d finish at 12:30 am and sometimes 2 am. Frankly, it sucked.
7. It’s more than a paycheck
Despite the long hours and rude customers, my first job was ultimately a good experience for me. It taught me about what it takes to work somewhere and the value of money, especially when you earn it yourself. It also showed me that a great job is much more than a paycheck. Sure, sometimes you just have to earn money and make a living. But having passion for what you’re doing, belief in your team and the business, and dedication to your bigger goals—that’s the stuff that makes a job meaningful.
Because I’m an athlete, it might seem obvious that I like sneakers. I wear them a lot, both on the court and off. But my love of this cool and comfortable shoe runs a little deeper.
I wouldn’t say I’m a hard-core collector; I just collect the ones I like. The thing is, owning these shoes was something I dreamed about as a kid. Growing up, I couldn’t afford sneakers like the ones I have now. We’d get one pair at the beginning of each school year and then wear them into the ground. I remember getting the Eastbay catalog at school. We’d flip through the pages and fantasize over all the new, cool shoes.
Those dreams turned into a real interest of mine. When I started in the NBA, I experienced an influx of sneakers. And as a Nike athlete, I often get to try out the latest styles. In honor of my childhood fantasies, I tracked down some old-school pairs—those from the mid-1990s, Penny Hardaway ones and other classics.
My all-time favorite pair of shoes has to be the black and red Air Jordan 11s. I wanted a pair so bad when I was a kid. Anything Jordan touched was gold, and those were the first official shoes he wore after coming out of retirement for a whole season. People went crazy! I know I did. My other favorites were the Air Penny 2s—black, white and blue. Those are the only ones that I don’t have, but I’m still on the lookout! And then there are the Air Max 91s and Air Max 95s. I always collect shoes that give me a feeling, whether it’s a nostalgic one or just that good feeling you get when wearing a dope pair of shoes.
Some collectors like to keep their sneakers in the box as collectibles, but I like to store mine in my closet and just wear them like normal shoes. I feel like they have a purpose, a cool look and comfortable feel, so I might as well enjoy them. Maybe it’s the kid in me coming through…
As for where to pick up new pairs, I’d check out sneaker stores, like Flight Club in New York and Los Angeles, among others. Most major cities have at least one hot spot, and I feel like I’m always discovering new stores and sources. Although I haven’t been yet, there’s also a Sneaker Con held every month or so in different cities, where people can buy, sell and trade shoes of all kinds—from running and basketball sneakers to skateboard and everyday “kick around” ones.
If you’re looking to build your own collection, start with what you love. Take your time, learn about different types, check out the stores and sites, and discover what you really like. Over time, you’ll grow your collection—and hopefully not spend too much in the process!
Take an inside look at one of our past Bosh family trips to Morocco. We got to experience rugs being created, various Moroccan markets, camel trekking in the desert, and belly dancers. We soaked up the culture, the heat, and as many moments as possible.
Kobe played his last NBA game this past Wednesday, and I couldn’t let that occasion go by without writing something about it. To be able to compete and share the court with a great player like Kobe Bryant has been an honor for me. He’s a big part of many of my basketball memories—iconic moments, classic games and heated rivalries.
I remember when he was with the Lakers when I was a kid. I wasn’t a guard, but his success in the NBA was a huge inspiration to me. I got to hear him speak when I participated in ABCD camp in Teaneck, New Jersey in 2001. At the time, most of what he said went over my head, and to be honest, I soon forgot the actual content of his talk. I was just so happy to see someone who was successful in the league speaking in person. I wanted to be in the NBA. I wanted to be successful just like he was. I wanted to play in the Finals and win championships like he was doing at the time, and it motivated me to work harder.
I remember playing against the Lakers for the first time in my career. Honestly, I was a little starstruck. To experience Kobe’s aura up close and share the court with him felt like a major accomplishment. I remember when I had the opportunity to be on the U.S. National team in 2008. That was another dream of mine—to get a chance to win a gold medal and to be able to call the best players in the world my teammates, even if it was only for a short time.
On the first practice day with that team, I went down to get breakfast before we took the bus over to the gym. There I was, thinking I was pretty early and feeling good about myself and Kobe’s already there. He gets up, says hello and walks out to get ready for practice. The most interesting thing I noticed was that he had ice bags on his knees. I later found out that he’d already gotten his workout in and was pretty much waiting for our practice to start. Mind you, this was less than two weeks after the Lakers lost in the Finals to the Celtics, and there he was, working out and practicing like a maniac. He had every reason to rest up and just focus on being healthy for the Olympics. But every day in practice, he brought it. Every day, he was trying to be the best among the best.
We went to the village to hang out a few times while the Olympic Games were going on, and I remember everybody walking through the arcade that they’d set up for the athletes. There were a bunch of games, but in particular, they had those mini pop-a-shot basketball games that you can find in just about every arcade in the world. Kobe and Michael Redd started playing, and things got competitive. After a few games, I got tired of watching, so I left to meet up with some friends. I had to have been gone for a couple of hours. When it was almost time to head back to the hotel, I stopped by the arcade again and those guys were still playing! Both of them were in a full sweat with a focus like it was a real game. That was pretty funny to me because I’d always heard about how competitive Kobe was and in that moment, I got to witness it for myself.
Kobe is the type of player that comes along once in a generation. He’s an icon for what he did on the court. A champion and true competitor, he delivered again and again on the world’s biggest stage. We watched his accomplishments and failures, and there’s no doubt he’s one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game.
It’s hard to believe that he’s retiring from basketball, but his impact and inspiration will be felt for generations to come. Thank you for everything you’ve done, Kobe! The game won’t be the same without you.