My memories of Kobe Bryant

April 18th  |  

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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.

photo via: Daniel Shirley, USA Today Sports

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My approach to apps, websites and social media

April 7th  |  

I like to think of myself as a technology enthusiast. Technology truly fascinates me. Staying up-to-date and checking out the latest, greatest gadgets, electronics and gear is a passion of mine.

Websites are one of my channels of choice for staying updated on the specific things I’m interested in—news, technology, fashion, culture. I have a few news sites I check regularly and some tech sites with all the information, interviews and new product reviews I need. You’ll usually find lifehacker.com, engadget.com and GQ.com in my browser history.

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As for social media, I like to scroll through Twitter during breakfast. It’s a quick, easy way to catch up on news, trends, tech, friends and other people I’m interested in. I also use Instagram for entertainment and to share snapshots of my day-to-day life. Facebook is great for keeping up with family and taking in longer news updates. What’s nice with all these platforms is that you can pick and choose who you want to follow, which means your feeds are custom to your interests.

At first I thought I wasn’t that into apps, but when I thought about it more, I realized I use them all the time. They’ve become such an integral part of life, something I use on a daily basis, that I almost didn’t realize how many I tap into regularly.

Some of my favorite apps help me stay updated, organized and in touch. For example, I use Pinterest for recipes, fashion inspiration, party planning (my wife and I like to share ideas with each other that way) and interior design (it’s especially come in handy as we’re in the process of building a new house).

WhatsApp and Line are two different apps that let me keep in touch with people internationally. I can send texts, photos and videos and make calls on Wi-Fi for free, so I don’t have to use minutes or data to catch up with friends in other countries or while I’m traveling overseas.

I recently got into Snapchat, thanks to Dwayne Wade. He’s the first friend I knew who had the app. It’s been a fun way to share goofy videos, show what I’m up to and just laugh at myself a bit. I’m also always checking the NBA Game Time app for live stats, scores and all the play-by-play action. And living in Miami, there are plenty of times I’ve come across Spanish words I don’t know, so I have a translator app to easily look them up and learn some new vocabulary.

My phone holds all my music, so that part gets a lot of use. I use Notes and Reminders to keep track of things I need to do and to write out anything I have on my mind. It’s an accessible spot to let out my thoughts, especially during the season if I’m feeling tired or frustrated. A short note gives me a chance to express myself and not hold things in. And I can send it to my wife so she can see how I’m feeling and we can talk about it.

We all have busy lives, and while technology has the potential to make our lives easier, it can also take a lot of time and effort to keep up with everything. There’s an infinite pool of information out there, so my approach is to focus on what I like and let the rest go.

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Best Beers for a Barbecue

March 29th  |  

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When it’s hot outside, I’m all about refreshing, light brews. If you’re like me, you want a beverage that’s crisp and cold, maybe even something with a touch of citrus fruit like lemon, orange or grapefruit. Beers like that are the perfect complement to barbecued meat and fresh summer vegetables.

I understand that it can be tough to get people to sample new beers outside of their comfort zone. I have friends who stick with the beers they know—and that’s it. But I’m slowly getting them to try different kinds because there are so many! There’s nothing better than grabbing a cold one with friends while throwing some food on the grill.

Just be careful if you’re eating and drinking outside. After all, when you’re thirsty and the sun is beating down on you, there’s a good chance you’re going to drink more than one beer. But throwing back porters and hoppy beers—any of those kinds with a higher alcohol content—can come with consequences, so watch out for that.

One of the cool things I like to do with beer is layer different ones to complement what I’m cooking. Grilled meats usually have that charred taste from the grill, so a beer with roasted flavors—something like a porter—does the trick for a nice pairing. A newer craze that’s been around for a while is black IPAs. You get that roasted flavor along with the hoppiness of an IPA. I tried it for the first time a few months ago and loved it. So if you’re having a burger, these beers go perfectly!

If you’re doing fish, sausages or chicken, I’d recommend lagers or pilsners. With these beers, you’ll have a variety of options as well as lower alcohol contents, so they’re safer to drink on a hot day while you’re grilling outside. If you’re cooking a bratwurst, do as the Germans do, and grab a pint of a nice, cold lager. Lagers and pilsners are usually more crisp and refreshing, so you can really taste the food you made—especially if you have grilled veggies to go with your meat or fish.

For the more advanced beer drinker, a dark lager or an amber is awesome. Those types of beer will really bring out the tastiness of a meal like sausage and caramelized onions. You can even braise the meat in beer if you’re serious about your grilling and your beer. I’m getting hungry just thinking about this!

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Welcome to the world, Lennox and Phoenix!

March 23rd  |  

Last week, I became a father for the fourth and fifth time. Adrienne and I welcomed our two new sons, Lennox and Phoenix, into this world.

What it means to be a father is difficult to put into words. And what it means to become a father of twins is even harder to describe. In the moment that they were born, it was very overwhelming. I learned right off the bat what having twins is going to mean. As the doctors checked on them, I was moving between the two babies and my wife to make sure they were all okay.

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The delivery went well, but my journey had just begun. Right after the initial checks, the medical staff took the boys to the NICU to monitor them because they were born a little early. I had to leave my wife and go with them to make sure everything went smoothly. After a few hours, everyone was doing well and resting. I don’t know how long I was up walking around the hospital and checking on everyone, but when I finally sat down, I was exhausted. It was truly a whirlwind of activity.

Having two kids at one time is an extraordinary experience—awesome in every sense of the word. I thought I had been through everything with the births of my other kids, but this time around was undeniably unique. Adding two more boys to the family gives me such an enormous feeling of pride. I always took my family name very seriously because I wanted to pass along the pride felt throughout my whole family in being a Bosh. That’s something I want to instill in my boys—to be proud of their name, to be proud of where they’re from and the members of our family.

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When I was younger, I would have never imagined that I would have five children. It’s kind of amazing thinking about it now because it makes me realize how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown as a person and as a man. The immense responsibility of raising young children—caring for them and helping them grow to be generous, loving, successful people—makes me really focus on what I’m doing to protect and provide for them. It also puts things into perspective for me. I see what’s truly important—the love of family and the incredible opportunity to raise these children with my wife by my side.

Our family has grown by two, and I’m extremely happy and excited to (quite literally!) have a full house!

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My Health Update

March 10th  |  

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5 things I wish I’d known in my 20s

March 4th  |  

I turned 30 last year. Anytime you hit a milestone, whether it’s a birthday or some other life event, it’s a time to celebrate and also a good opportunity to reflect. Not too long ago, I started thinking about what I wish I’d known in my twenties.

I guess you can say some of those things were lessons I learned, things I learned the hard way. Others were a result of my friends’ experiences, seeing how their twenties played out and what they learned.

I wish I’d known more about money, relationships, responsibility, time and travel. From the perspective of my thirties, I see that I learned a lot about these areas during the past decade. But I could have avoided some pitfalls and taken advantage of some amazing opportunities if I’d known more about them upfront.

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Here are five things I wish I’d known in my twenties:

1. Check your credit score.

Your credit score is a simple measure of your financial health, something you can easily check yourself, but a lot of people don’t think to keep an eye on it. In my twenties, I was surprised to learn what can influence my credit score. When I forgot to pay a small cable bill while living in an apartment when I was 21, my credit took a hit. If I’d known more about what credit scores mean and how to keep mine high or improve it, I wouldn’t have been caught off guard.

2. Enjoy being single.

While you’re single, don’t spend all of your time and energy looking ahead. Just focus on being present—being open to meeting new people, getting to know the person you’re dating and most importantly, learning about yourself. It’s a great time to find out what you really want and need in life and in a relationship.

3. Don’t rush.

Once you get into a relationship, take your time. There’s no reason to rush into things. Appreciate that process of getting to know each other and see where it goes. The big thing: Don’t “play house” or talk like it, unless you’re truly serious and ready to get married. It’s a big step, so give it thought and respect the person you’re dating enough to only go down that path if and when you’re sure.

4. Use a designated driver.

These days, there’s no excuse for drinking and driving. With all the options out there—cabs, Uber, appointing a DD—it’s not hard to make arrangements for a safe, sober ride home after a fun night out. The law is getting tighter, and driving under the influence is dangerous. It can be a matter of life and death, and quite simply, it’s not worth the risk.

5. See the world.

Your twenties are the perfect time to explore. Spend time and money on experiences. Travel the world. Backpack through Europe if you get a chance. (After all, once you’re there, everything is pretty close.) I once met a guy who lived in Thailand off of two bucks a day for a few months and he told me how much that experience helped him. Now’s the time to be young and do things you might not be able to do later on in life—crash at a hostel, talk to strangers, take cross-country train rides. When I was younger, I went to a basketball camp in Barcelona with my brother, and while we were there, we turned down a chance to go to Ibiza, one of the islands nearby. Life is different now, and that’s something I can’t do anymore; I missed an opportunity. I believe travel experiences make you smarter and more grounded. They allow you to see what’s out there.

Now that I say all of this, I also realize that your twenties are the time to make mistakes—and learn from them. We can’t possibly know everything then; we have to grow and learn as we go. But maybe if you keep these five things in mind—that is, those of you who are currently in that awesome decade—your twenties can be full of different lessons, opportunities and experiences. Keep me posted on what you find out.

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3 surprising destinations for relaxation

January 16th  |  

I’ve had the privilege of visiting some amazing places. Vacations are an ideal time to get away from the day-to-day grind and recharge. And during some trips in particular, I’ve been truly blown away by the natural beauty, rich culture, wonderful people and really good food.

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If you’re looking for a vacation destination that will leave you in awe, check out one of these three spots:

–  Sri Lanka  –

This island sits south-east of India—it’s a beautiful country with nice people and great food. A bonus: it’s not too expensive either. A few of Sri Lanka’s beach towns are major tourist spots—great for surfers, windsurfers and other water sports lovers.

We stayed at a hotel called Heritance Kandalama—a very interesting and fun experience. It was pretty much in the middle of the jungle, so we got everything that comes with that environment. For instance, every morning when I woke up, there would be this monkey outside of the bathroom window looking at me. Every morning for four days, he was there. You know how they say “don’t feed the animals”? Well, there’s a reason for that.

My wife, Adrienne, started feeling sorry for the little guy and fed him some of the fruit we had in our room. After that, he got a little more aggressive, and the next thing we know, he rounded up his buddies so more monkeys showed up knocking on the glass as the days went by. Adrienne is an animal lover, so of course, she kept putting food out for them. Eventually, they started jumping from out of nowhere and almost got into our hotel room. That persuaded her to stop. So a little piece of advice for you animal lovers out there: When signs say, don’t feed the animals… don’t feed them!

A top highlight of our trip had to be climbing the historic site Lion Rock, this gigantic rock structure where, in ancient times, a king once built his palace. The views, the climb, the fresco paintings on the rock walls are all breathtaking. We could see Lion Rock from our hotel so we were excited the whole time leading up to the visit. And not only did we visit Lion Rock, but we climbed to the top to see the awesome view it had to offer.

Adrienne and I are pretty adventurous, so we decided to take it as a challenge. It’s around 1,200 steps to reach the top—which was especially tough because we only brought a couple of bottles of water with us and it was very hot. We ended up rationing the water as much as possible, but it was worth it. Once we got to the top, we just sat there and enjoyed the 360-degree view of the country side. 

–  Lake Como, Italy  –

Located about an hour and a half outside of Milan, this lake lies in the midst of spectacular mountains. It’s the perfect picturesque place for some rest and relaxation—and fun. I’d highly recommend spending plenty of time on the beaches and in the water, swimming and boating, and just taking in the views that surround you. The people and the towns at the edge of the lake were so serene and peaceful. I could sit outside all day and not move an inch. It felt like I was looking at a postcard every day.

We stayed at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. One of my favorite things about the hotel was the sheets they used on the bed. They were the best sheets I’ve ever felt in my life. Imagine taking a cloud and mixing it with butter and cream, then adding some silk, and poof… you’ve got those sheets! I’m not gonna lie, the hotel was pretty expensive, but Lake Como is a beautiful and majestic place. Picture the ideal location to have a summer camp at the lake, a lake surrounded by mountains and forests. It was so plush and green—one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

–  Montenegro  –

This European country is across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, just west of Serbia and north of Albania. We flew into the Tivat Airport and spent time in the beach towns along the coastline. Montenegro’s amazing Mediterranean food and friendly people made it a really enjoyable spot to vacation.

I’ll never forget the boat we took to sail along the bay and down a very shallow river. We stopped at a wheat-mill-turned-restaurant where I had the best crepes of my life, topped with chocolate, hazelnuts and whipped cream. If you go, have some of those crepes for me. And if you’re into the club scene, Montenegro is home to some of the coolest clubs—huge, open-air ones—and hottest music festivals.

We ate almost every meal at our hotel, Aman Sveti Stefan. The food was amazing! We thought about trying other places to get a bite, but the hotel had three or four restaurants that are spectacular. They had a wide array of foods to choose from, but the Mediterranean cuisine was the best.

Sometimes it pays off to go somewhere new, somewhere you might not have heard too much about. The opportunity to explore another country and discover all it has to offer is truly life-changing. If you have the chance to visit one of these three spots, do it. You won’t regret it.

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Why I’m Learning to Play the Guitar

December 28th  |  

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Acoustic guitars are just really cool. They make great music—a sound that has the power to convey a lot more than the song itself. And it’s the kind of instrument you can take with you wherever you go, even play it by the fire pit with friends.

I’ve always wanted to play a musical instrument. I started learning the piano in Toronto but stopped playing out of frustration. Now that I’m home and have some time to learn something new, I had an opportunity to try it again—this time with a guitar. I recently bought a guitar from a guy who also gives lessons, so he has been teaching me the basics with a couple of lessons each week.

I figured if I kept working at it no matter how frustrated I get, I’d for sure be playing in six months. That’s the angle I take with learning anything new: Just be patient and don’t give up, and it’ll eventually happen.

I try to take the guitar with me, keep it close at hand so I can play whenever and wherever I have the chance. The ability to make a good time with family or friends by just reaching into the truck is awesome. Right now, I’m learning to play blues and old school rock and roll. It’s challenging, but when you get a chord change right, it’s such a great feeling to hear that beautiful sound. 

Playing the guitar has also turned out to be a family-friendly hobby. My kids love to hear me play. They want to make noise and try it out for themselves. And my wife can’t get enough. After all, she was raised on rock and roll, and we really connected through sharing music back in our dating days (and we still do).

After only a few lessons, I’m still working to perfect certain chords. I practice, make mistakes, try again. It’s a process that makes you appreciate the true talent out there. I’m looking forward to getting more comfortable with my guitar, learning more each week, trying out some of my favorite songs and sharing my love of music with family and friends.

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2015: my summer of concerts

December 16th  |  

This year, I’ve had a chance to really connect with music in a way I never have before.  From the very beginning of the summer to the end, I went to five or six music festivals. Having the opportunity to see bands and musicians on stage, to hear their music live, to be surrounded by other people who love music, to discover new artists in new places—it was something I won’t forget.

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For me, the highlights would have to include seeing Drake, The Weekend and AC/DC. They all had great shows. Beyond that, here’s a little recap of where I’ve been and what I’ve seen:

April: Coachella (Indio, CA)

This festival takes place during a time of year that I usually never have time off, so I took advantage of my downtime this year and checked it out. I felt like a kid again, taking in all the sights and sounds. Between the tried-and-true bands and the up-and-coming ones, I felt like I heard a wide range of music here.

June: Glastonbury (Pilton, Somerset, UK)

I’d heard a lot about Glastonbury but now I know what it means because I’ve actually been there. It’s so much more than music; honestly, it’s the most creative place I’ve ever seen. Being in England, I got to see what’s popular in another country and walk around with a little anonymity. Hundreds of thousands of people attended the festival, camping out for days, selling art and handmade stuff, discovering new music. Such a cool experience.

July: Tollwood Summer Festival (Munich, Germany)

We stumbled across this festival while in Munich. Just a few stages in size, it took place in a park that was created for the 1972 Summer Olympics—and hosted pretty much every type of music. Our impromptu discovery gave us a chance to hear some really good music in an incredible location. I mean, you’ve probably never heard of the bands who were performing, but the atmosphere was great—very family-oriented, a lot of people just hanging out—and they had amazing food and beer.

July: Reggae on the Mountain (Topanga, CA outside Los Angeles)

We went to this festival on a whim, just stopping by for about an hour or so. With two stages and a couple of food vendors, it’s not a huge festival, but its setting amid the mountains is spectacular. And with the smaller crowd, it has a more intimate feel than the other massive gatherings out there.

August: HARD Fest (Pomona, CA outside Los Angeles)

For a taste of alternative music and new talent, I joined all the young kids and die-hard fans at this very electronic-oriented festival. I like a little EDM (you know, electronic dance music), so it was cool to see the guys who are really killing it. It was also cool to see how creative the DJs get with the light and screen shows they have going during their time on stage. This festival exposed me to some different types of music and emerging artists in a live environment—a great way to discover new-to-me music.

If you’ve been to an awesome music festival, let me know about it. I’m always interested in new places, new music and new experiences.

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What I want to teach my kids about giving back

December 2nd  |  

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Given my career and lifestyle, I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world. And those experiences have given me a different perspective. I’ve been able to go beyond my own day-to-day world and see how others live. In places like South Africa, Ghana and India, I’ve seen spectacular sights—as well as poverty in its truest form. It’s one thing to know that something is going on, but when you are there and view it with your own eyes, it makes an impact. It changes your outlook.

We have clean running water, electricity, shelter and food. When I feel the urge to complain, the knowledge that other people go without these basic necessities makes me realize how blessed we are. I’m thankful and appreciative of the abundance in my life.

When I joined the NBA, I felt like I’d accomplished a very big dream of mine. And I wanted to use that for good. It isn’t about just putting my name on something or giving money. I strive to contribute my time, listen to other people, learn their stories and share inspirational words.

These experiences and this mindset are things I want to pass along to my kids. In the future, as they grow older and understand more, I want to expose them to other parts of the world—to take them to Africa and India to visit and volunteer. I hope these travels are just as life-changing as they were for me.

And a bit closer to home, my wife and I plan to get them involved in the local community—back-to-school benefits, holiday gift giving, all kinds of philanthropy. We’re especially passionate about helping kids. In my own childhood, I attended free basketball camps, and those opportunities paved the way for my future in more ways than one. I’d love to continue to give back with my kids by my side, showing them that being grateful, generous and openhearted is simply a way of life.

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