Kobe to speak at Downtown Boys and Girls Club

Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant is coming to town.

The Los Angeles Lakers star, fresh off winning the championship against the Boston Celtics, is stopping by the Santa Barbara Downtown Boys and Girls Club at 632 E. Canon Perdido for a benefit  luncheon on Friday at 11 a.m.

The event is a fundraiser for all five Boys and Girls Clubs in Santa Barbara County as well as Bryant’s family foundation, said Donna Reeves, development coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club in Santa Barbara.

Tickets are $200 and they’re going fast, said Reeves. Tickets can be purchased by calling the downtown club at 962-2382.

Reeves said many of the tickets sold are being given to local youth.

“People and local corporations are populating this thing with kids. It’s actually turning to be a kids’ event, which is great,” she said.

Youth representatives from all five clubs will be in attendance at the luncheon, and a championship boys basketball team from the downtown club will be recognized and get the opportunity to meet Bryant.

The Ballers 14-under  team won the title at the 2010 Aces/Coca Cola Basketball Nationals in Anaheim. Team members are Chris Given, Eli Male, Caleb Richey, Peter Kwock, Noah Burke, Isaiah Tapia, Gabe Mickey, David Trujillo, Jack Baker, Emilio Gonzalez and Cesar Hernandez. The head coach is Manny “Fresh” Murillo, assisted by Tyler Forshey and Bill Avalar.

Reeves said Kobe’s appearance at the fundraiser was arranged through local attorney Jerry Howard, who went to school with the business manager of the NBA superstar.

The timing for the visit was just right as Bryant was already going to be in Santa Barbara during the week for his Kobe Basketball Academy. The sold-out camp for ages 8-18 starts Thursday and runs through Sunday at UCSB.