The rising US sprint star tells SPIKES the inspiring story of how track and field, and a kindly coach, took him from a life of gangs and petty crime to star in one of global sport’s most prestigious events.
Like many 90s kids, rising British 400m hurdles star Jack Green grew up in awe of the world’s fastest man, Maurice Greene.
“I had the initial connection through the name, albeit his is spelt slightly differently to mine! He was the first athlete I ever watched when I realised that sport could be entertainment, with his pre-race snarling and prowling.
The moment US Olympic 4x100m gold medallist and world record holder Bianca Knight met her hero, NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
I admire Kobe Bryant, but it is not so much for his ability on court but for his ability to block out any distractions off court. The media can be tearing him apart and he can still go out and have a great game. None of that outside stuff ever bothers him. Kobe has always had a great attitude to focus on the job.
I was very lucky in that during the London Olympics I got to meet him. The US basketball team only came into the Olympic Village a couple of times, but I got to say hello and have my picture taken with him. He was very personable and now I like him even more. It was even better than I dreamed of, so he is definitely my number one favourite person.
I said to him ‘I’m your biggest fan’ and that I really ‘admired him.’ I was so star struck I couldn’t really hold together a proper conversation. I never thought I would be that close to him. Ever.
I’m not a huge basketball fan, except around the NBA championship and play-offs. I follow the LA Lakers but I am sure that is because of Kobe and my favourite memory of him is his 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors. Wouldn’t that be everyone’s most memorable moment?