Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant welcomed more than 500 campers to his annual basketball camp at UC Santa Barbara this week.

The five-day Kobe Academy provides opportunities for young basketball players from around the world to learn from the NBA champion and his corps of youth coaches. Bryant has been interacting with the basketball campers each morning and during evening talks.

During a question-and-answer session, Bryant said, “I feel like a volcano. I am ready to compete on the court.”

He said this is the first summer he is playing basketball with his two daughters.

In one evening’s final remarks, Bryant said to the players and parents assembled in UCSB’s Thumderdome: “Follow your passion. If you know what that is. Parents, enable your children to follow their dream. Kids, try to identify what you really want to do in life and then follow that dream.”

Although his Achilles injury won’t allow him to play or scrimmage during the camp, Bryant has been present throughout the camp.

The L.A. Lakers are coming off a disappointing season, finishing seventh in the Western Conference, being bounced out in the first round of the playoffs, and Bryant dealing with the worst injury of his career — a torn Achilles tendon. Bryant insisted that the Lakers will be in contention in 2014 and that he plans to make it back on the floor.

The Kobe Academy runs through Sunday.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at rrose@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.