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Meeting Kobe Bryant inspires terminally ill Army Sgt. Anthony Zavala

August 23, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Army Sergeant Anthony Zavala, center, stands with Vanessa and Kobe Bryant before the "Kobe Up Close Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel" event on Aug. 15.
Army Sergeant Anthony Zavala, center, stands with Vanessa and Kobe Bryant… (Hounds and Heroes )

Suffering from terminal cancer, Army Sgt. Anthony Zavala dreamed of meeting Kobe Bryant.

Last week, nonprofit organization Hounds and Heroes made it happen.

Visiting with Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, at Nokia Theatre prior to "Kobe Up Close Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel," Zavala was overcome.

"After being diagnosed, I've been so depressed knowing I'm going to die," Zavala said. "This is the best day of my life."

Zavala also had the opportunity to meet Robert Sacre, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, executive vice president Jeanie Buss and former NFL star Terrell Owens.

"Dreams come true," said Zavala at the event.

Hounds and Heroes was founded by Bonnie-Jill Laflin -- who has also worked as a scout for the Lakers. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to lifting "the spirits and morale of our active, wounded and military troops worldwide." Hounds and Heroes also works to help prevent cruelty to animals through education, rescue and adoption.


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Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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