Steven and Kobe Bryant
NORTH HIGHLANDS, Calif. - At the start of the year, Steven came down with a sinus infection. As he thought it was just an average cold, Steven thought nothing of it until he suddenly collapsed one day and had to be taken to the hospital.

Doctors found out that Steven had experienced a stroke and was suffering from severe meningitis. Once in the hospital, Steven began having seizures and lost the use of his left side. He was in ICU for a week and continued having seizures. Steven was given a 50 percent chance to live, but he miraculously made it through. Now Steven is almost as good as he was before his brush with death, except that he remains weakened and he must be monitored for signs of a recurrence.

During his stay in the hospital, a member of the staff referred Steven’s mother Liz to national children’s charity Kids Wish Network to possibly have a wish granted. After exchanging paperwork with the charity, Steven was talking to a Kids Wish Network wish coordinator and telling her that his only wish was to meet Kobe Bryant.

“Steven has always been a Lakers fan,” said Liz when asked why her son chose to meet the basketball star for his wish. “Steven was interested in meeting Kobe because of his determination, his leadership and the love of basketball.”

Through the assistance of some outstanding sponsors, Steven and his family drove a rental car from their home in Sacramento to Los Angeles for Steven’s wish. There, his wish coordinator had arranged for the family to have some fun before the Lakers game which included a day at Universal Studios and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum.

Though everything was fun for Steven, Liz said her son was thrilled when he stepped into the Staples center to watch the Lakers take on the Chicago Bulls: “We were so excited to be at a home game and so close to the court. We have been to Lakers games here in Sacramento, but to be at one at the Staples Center…such a gorgeous place…and to make it all even more incredible, they won!”

Of course, the excitement kicked up a notch after the game when Steven and his family were all escorted backstage where Kobe Bryant came out to meet him.

According to Liz, the meeting with his favorite basketball star was exciting for Steven, even though he was a little nervous. “However, when Kobe walked in greeted Steven with a hug, it was all different…It was like meeting an old friend. He was so kind, sweet and has such a great personality. He also brought his youngest daughter which made it even more comfortable and family feeling…Kobe was awesome, kind, friendly and such a great mentor!”

During the meeting, Kobe and Steven talked about playing through injuries and Kobe even signed their game tickets, a few cards, and a Lakers basketball for the star-struck teen. In return, Steven presented Kobe with a baseball cap from his high school, which he put directly on his head.

For Steven, it was the perfect wish. According to Liz, “Steven’s wish was more than granted! We are very thankful for the kindness and generosity everyone has shown us...This was a family vacation too that we so needed after such a crazy year…Thank you.”

Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Steven’s wish extra special: Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers, Universal Studios, Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, California Pizza Kitchen, Yard House Restaurant, ALS Limo and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Kids Wish Network assists children and their families through several key programs. Every child deserves a chance at happiness; a wish is just a way of bringing them that joy. If you would like to sponsor a child’s wish or if you know a child who is suffering from a life-threatening illness and may be in need of Kids Wish Network’s wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit their website at
Written by: Editorial Staff

Steven gets a hug from his favorite basketball star.