The trouble with Kobe. An Appology

reggiecleveland

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A few days ago I found myself using Kobe Bryant as a positive example, in that he would not react as casually to a loss as Porzingis seemed to react. It made me realize despite my convictions (see below) that Kobe is an overrated player and was, without doubt, a terrible human being, my movement in the basketball community at coaching clinics, giving and hearing motivational speeches, in discussions on long bus and plane rides about hoops, had me reflexively include Kobe in a throw-away comment in a positive manner. Sorry if this is a rehash, but I am seeking forgiveness for praising this guy.

I continue to be baffled by the deification of Kobe Bryant. Even his untimely death does not justify his inclusion in the GOAT conversation. As a fan of basketball and history and especially of Basketball History his status defies all logic.

Let us set aside the most troubling aspect of Kobe's legacy for a moment. The coach side of me loves some of the stories of his work ethic and drive to be the best. But the absolute most flattering explanation I can offer of his behavior as a teammate and part of a team is that he had some undiagnosed mental illness that was untreated. It is almost impossible to find a teammate or coach that liked him. Not in the Bill Bellichick, Michael Jordan way that people think they went too far, were too focused on business that they neglected personal niceties. The most common sentiment of people from the Lakers during the Kobe era is people loathed and despised him. He was relentlessly cruel to rookies, role players, and people trying out for the team, long after his status as the star of the game was ensured. Phrases like "in all my years only Kobe (insert petty cruelness or outright attempts at humiliation). When he was charged with rape Mitch Kupchak famously said to Phil Jackson "you won't believe this" to which Phil stated he did believe it since he had already concluded Kobe was a sadist who enjoyed nothing more than hurting and dominating somebody. When the charges were announced only teammates new to the Lakers defended him in the press. Again in the most flattering understatement possible of Kobe the teammate, the off-the-court person has to be seen as negative.

Let's move onto the court. Kobe had the longest possible career in what has to be the most favorable environment in history. It wasn't until the very end of his career the NBA finally stepped in and stopped players and agents (until Lebron went there and the practice was revived) from forcing teams to trade them to the Lakers . He is at the center of two games (game 6 vs Sacremento and a game 7 we all remember) that hoops historians list as possible evidence of NBA refs fixing games. PER is not a perfect stat but the top 10 include Jokic, Jordan, Lebron, Shaq, Wilt, Gianis, Durant. And the top 23 include the rest of the people that have entered Goat conversations Magic, Duncan, Bird, Kareem. Kobe is 29th, for now. The best players below Kobe? Dirk, KG, Moses, Stockton who only enter the GOAT in qualified ways. "Well if I need ________I want ___" (D/KG. EURO/DIRK, 3 year peak /Moses. PNR/Stockton). So that stat does not support Kobe as GOAT or anywhere near GOAT. You want peak? Kobe best year is 89th all-time. Jordan and Lebron who always appear with Kobe in the memes done by 20-somethings in GOAT conversations have best PER seasons ranking 8th and 9th in a stat that seems to favor big guys and current era players. But many other guards Wade, Hardin, SGA, all rank much higher. Okay that stat unlike refs and Colorado juries is biased against Kobe. The "all time greatest shotmaker" had an effective field goal % of .482 and topped 50% 4 times in 19 years. HIs lowest efficiency other than his putrid last few years was the year when he took the 3rd most shots in his career. These numbers show us what we all saw. He shot way too much , passed way too little, and when he was shooting the worst he shot more. Back to the previous point about a terrible teammate. When Kobe Bryant shot the ball the return on investment was less than one point. Other numbers? His assist-to-turnover ratio is pretty bad, and his totals are really low for a guy who had the ball all the time. His steals and blocks are on par with an athletic 2 guard (but wasn't he the MOST athletic guard?) while his rebounding is below-average. Really when Shaq got hurt is the only time, for one season he seemed to focus on rebounding more. So the numbers do not support Kobe as goat. His play after his achilles injury runs the spectrum from league average to worst ever. Still, he fought tooth and nail any effort for the Lakers to acquire another star or change the focus of the offense. In fact some of th emost glaring stories of his personal cruelty to teammates and staff come from the supposedly mature, mellowed Kobe when asked to shoot less. His last year was the equivalent of batting the pitcher 3rd all year in a DH league. What if the least efficient shooter in the league took the most shots? 41% from 2 2% from 3 17 shots a game.

Okay to say what has been unsaid. Kobe raped a young woman. He initially lied to the police and instantly hinted at bribery as a way "to make it go away". Even his telling would not pass the current post "me too" standard of sexual assault. His lawyers and publicists through innuendo and leaks of false information did all they could to destroy his accuser. You can read about the details but be warned they are truly horrific. How, in woke LA did this guy achieve and maintain Saint status, even before his fateful helicopter ride?

My wish is to for all of us to speak the truth, and not get worn down (as I was temporarily) by the post-mortem rehabilitation of one of the worst people in NBA history.
 

RorschachsMask

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I wouldn’t have Kobe in my top 13ish best players ever, nevermind the GOAT. I’d like to think that he knew what he did was horrifying, and that he maybe grew from it. But that doesn’t take away from what he did, and it should always be held against him, IMO.

Also, this is in the Patriots forum lol.
 

Jake Peavy's Demons

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Oh, I'm totally here for this thread. I've never met anybody IRL who hates(d) Kobe more than me. One of the most overrated sportspeople ever.

I'll go to my grave opining that as the result of the NBA lockout 1998-99, & Jordan's retirement, the NBA were desperate to manufacture a 'superstar' player to be compared to Jordan who played in a large media market. Enter Kobe. 5 championships later, 2 of which no doubt were frauds (I'd listen to an argument of 3 [PDX had 20 less FTs in Game 7 of 2000 WCF]).

Not to mention David Stern being real quick to compromise the integrity of a investigation that everyone seems to handwave away.

Too bad.
 

Bunt Single

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Yeah, I'm definitely in sympathy with this thread. Continually disappointing, how the deification of the man has meant repeatedly discounting the rape. Myself, I can't get past it.
 

Auger34

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Kobe being praised as some sort of hero now, especially by Shaq “How Does My Ass Taste” O’Neal is proof that someone’s death (even moreso if they died young) covers up all sins.

Honestly, whenever I see clips on Instagram that have him involved, it makes me want to vomit. Gilbert Arenas (who is a fucking moron BTW) had a long clip about how players love Kobe because he did so much with so little and that he wasn’t athletic and didn’t have the “starter kit” everyone else had. It was one of the dumbest fucking things I have ever seen.

This is a terrible thing to write but….I will go to my grave thinking that Kobe told that pilot to try and pull off the risky maneuvers that he did because they were late and he wanted to get home faster.
 

RorschachsMask

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Kobe being praised as some sort of hero now, especially by Shaq “How Does My Ass Taste” O’Neal is proof that someone’s death (even moreso if they died young) covers up all sins.

Honestly, whenever I see clips on Instagram that have him involved, it makes me want to vomit. Gilbert Arenas (who is a fucking moron BTW) had a long clip about how players love Kobe because he did so much with so little and that he wasn’t athletic and didn’t have the “starter kit” everyone else had. It was one of the dumbest fucking things I have ever seen.

This is a terrible thing to write but….I will go to my grave thinking that Kobe told that pilot to try and pull off the risky maneuvers that he did because they were late and he wanted to get home faster.
Kobe did tell the pilot to fly in the conditions, IIRC.

If I’m wrong, whoops.
 

BaseballJones

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Great basketball player, no doubt. Not a top-5 all time guy, also no doubt. But as a father of a daughter who experienced sexual assault in college, and who believes that Kobe did what he was accused of, and who is convinced that the way his legal team made life almost impossibly difficult for his victim to bring the case to court successfully, which in turn made it harder for millions of women - including my daughter - I have nothing good to say about Kobe as a human. As someone who works at UConn, to see Kobe (who adored UConn women's basketball) deified here by the women's program just pains me beyond belief.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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I certainly sucks how a generation of young players chose Kobe as their basketball hero.
It is a thing. I bet more than half of my students who are Bball fans believe he was better than LeBron and is in the conversation for GOAT. I blame the “meme” (?) of shooting a paper balled up into the trash and calling “KOBE!!!!”.

I
 

Auger34

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It is a thing. I bet more than half of my students who are Bball fans believe he was better than LeBron and is in the conversation for GOAT. I blame the “meme” (?) of shooting a paper balled up into the trash and calling “KOBE!!!!”.

I
I blame the deification of single minded assholes. It happened with Jordan and it happened with Kobe (who let’s be honest is just Jordan Lite in every way)

People talking in reverence about him being a complete fucking asshole to his teammates or his indomitable “will to win” (yeah, that served him well when he actually had to be the best player or put forth more effort to win)
 

Ale Xander

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It is a thing. I bet more than half of my students who are Bball fans believe he was better than LeBron and is in the conversation for GOAT. I blame the “meme” (?) of shooting a paper balled up into the trash and calling “KOBE!!!!”.

I
So Kobe = trash
Sounds right
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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I've been blown away at how quickly people have driven Bryant up the ranks of GOATs. He was an excellent player, but doesn't belong anywhere near the top 10 convo.
 

Auger34

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I've been blown away at how quickly people have driven Bryant up the ranks of GOATs. He was an excellent player, but doesn't belong anywhere near the top 10 convo.
Is he top 15? That’s a much more interesting discussion.

He’s not top 10. Not that close really
 

nocode51

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I always take the trash can thing to be hoisting up terrible shots at a low percentage and then yelling the name of the patron saint of terrible shots fired with way too much confidence.
 

ElUno20

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Now imagine being in LA where these idiot lakers fans think he is an untouchable god (not basketball, like as a person). They name their kids after him, get tattoos of him, etc. These are some of the dumbest people on earth to me.

My kid was in a camp a while a back. Low pressure, general skills for real little ones. There was one parent screaming at his kid (and over coaches) for any little thing that wasnt perfect, these are 5-6 year olds. I felt so bad for the kid who was of course named Kobe.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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Kobe being an unapologetic asshole is not a mark against him in the eyes of his adoring fans. It was his most endearing quality. The mamba mentality was the celebration of the individual over the team. He made being selfish look cool.
 

gammoseditor

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Along with Kobe being overrated I always felt Pau Gasol is one of the most underrated players in NBA history. The three year stretch where Kobe didn’t have Shaq or Pau the Lakers were pretty average. A documentary was made praising Kobe/Lebron and the redeem team and Gasol is barely a footnote for making the gold medal game competitive. It’s a crime he was left off the top 75 anniversary list.
 

BaseballJones

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Kobe being an unapologetic asshole is not a mark against him in the eyes of his adoring fans. It was his most endearing quality. The mamba mentality was the celebration of the individual over the team. He made being selfish look cool.
If I recall correctly, the "Mamba mentality" thing actually originated not with basketball, but due to the rape incident.

From an NBC article:

"In 2003, Kobe Bryant had sex with a woman – who, per Bryant’s own later statement – did not view the encounter as consensual.

Charges against him were dropped after the accuser refused to testify. He settled a civil suit with her.

Kent Babb of The Washington Post:

In the case’s aftermath, a landmark sexual assault scandal during the emerging 24-hour news cycle, Bryant’s jersey sales plummeted and McDonald’s and Coca-Cola cut ties.
“They didn’t want the gritty s---,” he says now. “And most people still don’t.”

Creating an alternate persona, he says now, was the only way he could mentally move beyond the events of Colorado.
“I don’t know what would’ve happened had I not figured it out,” he says. “Because the whole process for me was trying to figure out how to cope with this. I wasn’t going to be passive and let this thing just swallow me up. You’ve got a responsibility: family, baby, organization, whole city, yourself — how do you figure out how to overcome this? Or just deal with it and not drown from this thing? And so it was this constant quest: to figure out how do you do that, how do you do that, how do you do that? So I was bound to figure something out because I was so obsessively concerned about it.”

“During the Colorado situation, I said: ‘You know what? I’m just going to be me. I’m just going to be me.’ F--- it. If I don’t like a question from a reporter, I’m going to say it,” he says. “If they ask me a question about this thing, I’m just going to tell them the truth.”

His fist strikes the desk.

“Like me or don’t like me for me.”

With that in mind, some within Bryant’s circle suggest he has convinced himself that Colorado either never happened or that, if he continues flooding his résumé with accomplishments, the public will neither remember nor care."


So the Mamba mentality idea was his way of "coping" with the "Colorado situation" (i.e., rape).
 

BigSoxFan

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Watching Kobe get to celebrate a championship after his 6-24 2010 game 7 performance was one of the hardest sports fan moments for me.

Dammit, Ray. Hit a shot.
 

slamminsammya

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Any of my real life friends when we talk basketball he's never anywhere close to the top 10, and top 15 is questionable as well. granted we are all Celtics fans but I can't take someone seriously who thinks he's up there with any of the other guys in that top tier.
 

Seels

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Feel the same way about Kobe in goat discussions as I do about Brees or Elway in football ones. Great player. But there's no good goat contender in any sport that didn't have time periods they weren't the clear best player in the league, with MVPs and other accolades to match. Gretzky, Orr, Lemieux, Jordan, Russell, Lebron, Brady, Montana, Manning, Ruth, Mays, Bonds, all these guys are loaded with MVPs and other accolades.

Kobe has an MVP that was seen even on the day it was given to him as a lifetime achievement award, no time he led the league in any stat except volume scoring, and was arguably not even a top 3 player in the league any given year he played, including his mvp year.

Before Brady's run i could at least understand how some naive fan might have an argument for Elway, given his athleticism and dismal teams.

Kobe was the third musketeer on his first 3 teams.

He's a top 20 player. Maybe he's a top 15 player (but he's around where you'd have guys like Chuck, Robertson, Durant, etc). But he's definitely not top 10 / goat.

Also - it's really not brought up how often he was just a quitter. Sorry you don't get points for being competitive when you're a whiny quitter at the same time. Kobe was a frontrunner for his entire career.
 

Auger34

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Kobe was a frontrunner for his entire career.
This is the funniest part about the Kobe mystique.

For all of the “Mamba Mentality” “hardest worker in the room” bullshit, Kobe was never up for real challenges.

When the Lakers looked like shit, he tried to force his way out. The only reason he didn’t get out was because he thought that the teams trading for him weren’t going to be good enough after acquiring him.

He was a whiny little prick for his entrance career. Can you imagine any superstar right now not taking any shots because they got their undies in a twist due to people saying they shot too much?

The only time that he ever won was when he had the most talented team by a wide margin.
 

RG33

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As someone who has lived in the Los Angeles area the last 18 years, this whole topic fucking kills me. I can’t tell you how many times I have been blasted for pointing out that 1. Kobe is not close to Jordan, 2. Kobe is maybe a top 15 or 20 player, but not close to a top 10, and 3. Kobe raped a woman.

I tend to bring up the rape every time, which some can (rightfully) argue is uncouth perhaps, and maybe he did grow and become better later in life as a “Girl Dad”, etc., but he still needs to own that scarlet letter. Sadly, in death, it has been mostly erased and it will get futher and further from his story as time goes on. I don’t find any of this surprising — I mean, we have 35% of America telling us that another rapist is the literal 2nd coming of Jesus Christ and should rule the country as the benevolent despot that he surely will be.

In that end, all of this is just more evidence that we suck. Humans, that is.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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Okay to say what has been unsaid. Kobe raped a young woman. He initially lied to the police and instantly hinted at bribery as a way "to make it go away". Even his telling would not pass the current post "me too" standard of sexual assault. His lawyers and publicists through innuendo and leaks of false information did all they could to destroy his accuser. You can read about the details but be warned they are truly horrific. How, in woke LA did this guy achieve and maintain Saint status, even before his fateful helicopter ride?
Eh, "woke LA" is a lazy narrative that many use, but Hollywood is big business and a LOT has been swept under the rug in the name of studio profits. Despite the magnanimous statements made by celebrities at awards shows and whatnot. See Weinstein, Harvey for a recent example. I can totally believe LA would deify someone in the face of immense personal faults.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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It absolutely colors my opinion of Jayson Tatum and not in a good way.
It's a tough thing to wrestle with, but Jayson was what, 5 years old when the Eagle CO stuff occurred? He probably dove into Kobe in the era FOLLOWING the rape case. I think Tatum's direct work with Kobe awhile back was in the "girl dad" era of Kobe when he appeared to have gained some mental maturity, at least from the outside.
 

Ale Xander

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Eh, "woke LA" is a lazy narrative that many use, but Hollywood is big business and a LOT has been swept under the rug in the name of studio profits. Despite the magnanimous statements made by celebrities at awards shows and whatnot. See Weinstein, Harvey for a recent example. I can totally believe LA would deify someone in the face of immense personal faults.
Dee Barnes agrees with this post
 

reej

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My 7-year-old niece said something to me about Kobe, and I said some disparaging things about him, and the reaction on her face was the same as if I put Peppa Pig in the sharpshooter. I realized then I couldn't explain the **** angle, so I was just like, "Uhhhh because he's an idiot..... ahh... because he went on a dangerous helicopter instead of sitting in traffic..."
 
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InstaFace

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Fantastic thread, I have no way to improve upon reggie's opening post. Just a pure distillation of why not only Celtics fans should hate the guy, but frankly everyone who likes basketball, likes good role models, likes integrity, and hates criminality, should as well. That Jayson Tatum grew up wanting to emulate him is unfortunate, but I'll chalk it up to the Stern-led deification of the guy.
...He is at the center of two games (game 6 vs Sacremento and a game 7 we all remember) that hoops historians list as possible evidence of NBA refs fixing games.
The most minor of nits, but wasn't the Donaghy game the 2002 WCF Game 7, not Game 6? Not that I'm sure there wasn't a lean in their direction in most playoff games.
 

reggiecleveland

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Fantastic thread, I have no way to improve upon reggie's opening post. Just a pure distillation of why not only Celtics fans should hate the guy, but frankly everyone who likes basketball, likes good role models, likes integrity, and hates criminality, should as well. That Jayson Tatum grew up wanting to emulate him is unfortunate, but I'll chalk it up to the Stern-led deification of the guy.

The most minor of nits, but wasn't the Donaghy game the 2002 WCF Game 7, not Game 6? Not that I'm sure there wasn't a lean in their direction in most playoff games.
Donaghy claimed the NBA wanted a game 7 and that two of the refs (not him) were in on it. But that game was central in the "NBA is fixed" narrative before Donaghy was even caught.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3ii_MG4mLs
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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I understand you object to the term, but this isn't like Trump supporters not caring about his behavior. I am not even including Laker fans cheering him the day he came from his trial and played. Sports fans do awful things. Fans in the USA have booed the Canadian anthem too often to remember, and at least once in Canada the USA anthem was booed. But people in the media who make a career out of virtue signalling not only let Kobe go they praised him. I spent 30 seconds on google, to find an example. Jimmy Fallon wept on the air about Kobe but not understanding irony wouldn't let Norm Macdonald on his show because Norm said "me too" was selective and let certain people get away with things. Fallon has repeatedly presented himself as an ally of "me too" while having Kobe as a regular guest after his retirement while swooning over Kobe trashing whatever the state the Lakers were in after he left. Some people went down in "Me too" like Al Frankin for comparatively little compared to Kobe. Weinstein when down hard once it was clear there was no benefit to protecting him, he wasn't going to help their careers anymore. Even Oprah when defending her best friend who received death threats for asking a question about Kobe's sexual assault was careful not to criticize Kobe.

The Weinstein thing proves my point. He went down hard, as did Louis CK, and others but Kobe remained untouchable, if anything his reputation gained prestige in the years right before his death. There was no real need to protect Kobe, other than the hero worship and Lakers bias.
Oh I am agreeing with you. I am saying that "woke" often exists as this ideal for many that goes out the window when it comes to burying yourself in an artist's movie, song or an athlete's exploits. You raise a fair point that even Weinstein got his just desserts at the end when Kobe did not. Maybe it was the lifestyle change from Kobe while participating in his daughter's up-and-coming basketball career and being perceived as an advocate of women's basketball, when many just thought 'Ok this guy has seemingly changed his ways so no need to replay the past.' Whereas Weinstein did not change his image prior to the Me Too movement.
 

Jimbodandy

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Great post @reggiecleveland


I blame some of the deification on LA biased NBA twitterverse, some on posthumous rehabilitation (like Nixon got), and some just because the rise and grind culture appreciates his single-mindedness to be great (it's at least the mythos).

As far as getting past the rape, it's a pretty good reminder that far too many people just don't care about sexual assault. They know that he did it. They don't care.
 

67YAZ

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In my own experience - so anecdotal, not a researched view - is that Kobe's standing among Black folks is much higher than white. I started asking friends about this after Kobe died and I was shocked by the level and intensity of emotional outpouring. I didn't get it, and at some level, I still don't. But among many Black fans, Kobe is an iconic basketball player who also transcended into a cultural hero. It's something that defies statistical analysis.
 

GeorgeCostanza

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In my own experience - so anecdotal, not a researched view - is that Kobe's standing among Black folks is much higher than white. I started asking friends about this after Kobe died and I was shocked by the level and intensity of emotional outpouring. I didn't get it, and at some level, I still don't. But among many Black fans, Kobe is an iconic basketball player who also transcended into a cultural hero. It's something that defies statistical analysis.
Further anecdotal evidence: the group of guys I play ball with at the Worcester Y is mostly black, but the Kobe reverence seems to be generational thing in my experience. All the old heads (45+) almost to a man can’t stand Kobe. The younger dudes (sub 30s) absolutely worship the guy and it’s wild to see. Kobe arguments have started more shoving matches than hard fouls on Sunday morning.

Edit: and god help you if you bring up the rape.
 

InstaFace

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In my own experience - so anecdotal, not a researched view - is that Kobe's standing among Black folks is much higher than white. I started asking friends about this after Kobe died and I was shocked by the level and intensity of emotional outpouring. I didn't get it, and at some level, I still don't. But among many Black fans, Kobe is an iconic basketball player who also transcended into a cultural hero. It's something that defies statistical analysis.
Which is all the more bizarre for the fact that they have their pick of basketball stars, because the entire history of the league is of black stars. Just looking at the Ben Taylor list, his top 10 are all black players, and excepting #11 Larry Bird, the entire top 16 are as well. There is no shortage of black superstar basketball players who reached legendary status in pick-your-city.

I guess perhaps the preening, look-at-me nature of Kobe tended to grab the admiration of (mostly young) casual fans. The ubermensch, imposing his will on the world.
 

ElUno20

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In my own experience - so anecdotal, not a researched view - is that Kobe's standing among Black folks is much higher than white. I started asking friends about this after Kobe died and I was shocked by the level and intensity of emotional outpouring. I didn't get it, and at some level, I still don't. But among many Black fans, Kobe is an iconic basketball player who also transcended into a cultural hero. It's something that defies statistical analysis.
Ehh maybe outside of California but race isnt it here. When it comes to nba basketball in los angeles there are two cults, the lakers and kobe fans. White or black, they'll all dismiss the rape like it never happened.
 

chrisfont9

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It absolutely colors my opinion of Jayson Tatum and not in a good way.
Tatum was half his age and Kobe apparently helped him work on basketball stuff. We get to feel disgust at who we saw in Kobe, but by the same token kids who came later, who didn't experience any of that side of Kobe, get to form their own opinions too. Maybe Kobe had mellowed and was pleasant to be around. My guess is that it was a big deal for a young ambitious player to be embraced by that inner-inner circle of the NBA, a truly great technical offensive player, and he wasn't going in there with a bunch of blog posts from the early aughts to confront Kobe.

I generally don't think we should dump a bunch of stuff on young people. We fucked up society or the Earth or whatever almost as much as our parents did. Young adults don't need to clean up our messes. It's totally unfair.

My least favorite thing about Kobe the basketball player is the 60 points in his last game. On 50 shots, in a meaningless game for an atrocious team. I mean, I guess it's amusing but people acted like it was actually a credit to him, when it was really just a last gasp of his least likeable quality (as a player).
 
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jose melendez

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I blame the deification of single minded assholes. It happened with Jordan and it happened with Kobe (who let’s be honest is just Jordan Lite in every way)

People talking in reverence about him being a complete fucking asshole to his teammates or his indomitable “will to win” (yeah, that served him well when he actually had to be the best player or put forth more effort to win)
Let's be honest--Bird too, was a single minded asshole.
 

jose melendez

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I think Kobe was a sociopath--I truly do. Of course, I also think that way about Jordan. I don't know what to do with Bird saying Kobe is the player he most would have liked to play with or some such, because I so deeply respect Larry's hoops judgement.
 

themuddychicken

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I am very aware of how faulty memory is, so I would like to discuss some memories here and see what others remember of the same times.

I remember Kobe post-rape as floundering. I remember media members actually doing their job and regularly asking him about it, and I remember it clearly affecting him. And I'm not talking about a month here, I'm talking about for over a year.

Then I remember the Black Mamba thing, where Kobe literally created an asshole persona to deal with the world knowing he was a rapist, and being clowned for it. It WAS NOT cool at first, the opposite in fact.

And then late in his career, I remember him in a magazine interview painting himself as the victim of "the incident in Colorado." I tried looking for it, but online search sucks now and so much has been written since he died that I gave up.

Anyway, to get to my points...

1) I don't think Kobe was a psychopath because of how much the rape affected him, initially. Now I am just a guy and know nothing about the field, so I welcome anyone that knows more to explain how dumb this opinion is. I don't think a psychopath would have been so clearly troubled by being seen as a bad person, though I guess I could argue that he was mourning the loss of his image.

2) I think he was so messed up in the head that he later legitimately believed that he was a victim. It's probably just narcissism, but it seems pretty obvious that once he moved on he fully moved on in a new reality that benefitted him. He never wanted to feel that way anymore so he made sure to inure himself to it.

3) The Mamba stuff is still corny. Maybe it's a lot easier to do this on the east coast, but I still don't hesitate to remind people that Mamba was literally a coping mechanism to deal with the world knowing he was a rapist.

4) And lastly, I think we need to more openly talk about rape. It isn't a dirty word to be spoken in hushed tones - that only helps rapists. In my opinion the person who deifies a rapist in a social setting is the one committing a faux pas, and I'll gladly take the heat to make that point. As a middle aged, cis, white male I am speaking from a position of privilege and can afford more conflict, though.