Camille Nolasco is one of the brightest young stars of Philippine basketball.
With her talents, she has the potential to reach her dreams of playing professional basketball, and she just might by following the advice that the late Kobe Bryant gave her several years ago.
In 2019, Nolasco, who is a Jr. WNBA alumnus, was presented with a rare opportunity to pick Bryant's brain. The question she asked Kobe was: What advice can you share to young girls like me who dream of becoming a professional player someday?
Bryant's answer was simple: "Work on the basics."
"There's a lot of coaches that will come out there and teach you how to dribble with five basketball, six basketballs, and do all these crazy stuff. You don't have to do all the crazy stuff, you just have to focus on the basics," Kobe told her.
"Focus on shooting with your left hand, shooting with your right hand, focus on changing directions, focus on protecting the ball, [and] focus on your shooting mechanics. Focus on the absolute basics of the game and you do those over and over and over. That's how you achieve a certain level of mastery."
Nolasco said she couldn't agree more and since that unforgettable moment, has been heeding Kobe's advice as she continues to progress through her basketball journey.
"It feels surreal that I was able to ask Kobe a question, which not a lot of people were given the chance to," she shared.
"His answer was very true because a lot of players, kids, and athletes right now, they're focusing on the fancy stuff, like dribbling with three balls. I've been there, too, but ever since Kobe answered my question it made me realize that I should practice more and master what I could do in the game."
This year, the 16-year-old Nolasco was the only Filipino who participated in the NBA Academy Women's Virtual Program.
In that eight-week program, she absorbed interactive virtual lessons from WNBA players and NBA Academy staff that further enhanced her on-and off-court skills for the challenges that lie ahead.
"I feel blessed and, at the same time, I know that it's a responsibility to continue to inspire young girls to love this sport as well," she said. "My next dream is to represent the Philippines in an international league. [And] I hope to be part of the under-18 national team."