LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Lakers have bungled an opportunity to fulfil a dying child's heartfelt wish that he talk with superstar Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.
The newspaper accused the National Basketball League team of dragging its feet on a request from a 14-year-old cancer patient that he get a chance to meet or talk on the telephone with Bryant.
Doctors said the boy, Jose, had just one week to live.
Sheryl Carlin, of Parents Against Cancer (Padres Contra El Cancer), faxed the request on behalf of, Jose, to Lakers community relations director Eugenia Chow.
“To say that he (Jose) is a big, big fan of Lakers' star Kobe Bryant is an understatement. Jose adores Kobe.
As one of his final requests he and his family have kindly asked for a personal visit or telephone conversation with him,” the Parents Against Cancer letter said.
The Times said it talked to Bryant on Monday and he knew nothing of the boy's final wish.
The boy died on Tuesday, the same day the Lakers community relations department passed the request on to Bryant's agent, said the newspaper.
Among the excuses given by the Lakers, according to the Times, was “we can only do one of these kind of things per dying child”, and that someone had mistakenly thought the child might have already met with Bryant.
The Lakers are tied at two games a piece in a best-of-seven first round playoff series with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Bryant meets regularly with Make-A-Wish Foundations candidates and promised he would call the boy's parents and express his condolences.
The defending NBA champion Lakers have been praised in the past for their community service work.
They host an annual party for Los Angeles-area foster children and they work in tandem with the schools on getting more kids to read. – AFP