Commentary

Salvador and Kobe

Updated: June 27, 2008, 6:23 PM ET
By Tony Morales | Salvador Torres' uncle

Salvador was getting tired of the chemo, tired of going through it and tired of being sick. It really affected us. The doctors thought his prognosis would be OK, and we wanted to believe them. Inside though, we were very scared, hoping that God would bless him and help him get through this.

He was in a real down mood that week. His mother passed away a few days earlier and was being buried on the day he ended up meeting Kobe. Salvador -- because of his leukemia could not travel to Mexico, where she lived, to go to her funeral. We just couldn't take the chance and have him travel and get sick in another country.

That day he was supposed to have his video shoot, which was an interview on why he wanted to meet Kobe and why Kobe should meet him. I asked him if he wanted to cancel it. He did not want to though. He really wanted the opportunity to potentially meet his favorite player.

What's funny is that beforehand, when we were asking Salvador what he wanted, he named a few things including a computer. My mom [Salvador's grandmother] kept asking him, well aren't you forgetting one thing? Kobe!

Salvador did not take her very seriously. He never thought Kobe Bryant would actually come visit him. We all laughed thinking, that's not possible. Anyway, we filled out the Make a Wish paper and put Kobe's name on there.

As it turned out, The Make a Wish foundation told us we were going to film an interview and that it would be sent to see if Salvador would be a candidate to meet Kobe Bryant at some point down the line. None of us knew what was going to happen that day, not even me.

Phil Ellsworth/ESPNKobe and Salvador spend time together.
When he walked in, it was surreal. I could not hold back. I cried. You would have thought I was the child and Salvador was the adult. He was playing it so cool, and I couldn't catch my breath.

I'm really happy I came because earlier in the morning I told my nephew I may not be able to make it because I had to work. He really wanted me to be with him so I came. I took the day off from work. We both wore our jerseys to the "interview." Before Kobe walked in, the film crew acted like nothing was happening, like it was no big deal. The next thing we know, Kobe's walking in to the arcade!

It was unbelievable to see Salvador with Kobe that day. Even though I am his uncle, I feel like his father. To see his smile and to see something so good happen to him made me happy. To this day, he is still so happy.

Salvador cannot do anything for more than two hours before getting tired. Let me tell you, on the day we met Kobe, we spent all day with him. When Salvador got home that evening, he took a 30-minute nap, woke up and asked me to play basketball.

He wanted to show me the moves that Kobe taught him. He had so much energy. We spend another three hours at the park. He did not get tired.

Kobe gave him something that I could never give him, something no one could. Even though he has a lot of family support, when someone of Kobe's stature shows how much they care, it blows you away.

The fact that he met Kobe on that day was perfect timing, because I cannot honestly tell you where Salvador would be emotionally if that did not happen.

It was a real emotional day; so much was happening to my nephew that was bringing him down. That whole day took away a bad, dark place he was in and gave him something that was bright and beautiful.

After meeting Kobe, he was so happy and smiled all day. And in the end, that's all that really matters. All our family wants for Salvador is to be healthy and happy.

Editor's note: You can send your well wishes to Salvador Torres by clicking here.

Make-A-WishIf you want to know more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation or donate to the cause click here.