Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Kobe Bryant was no angel, whatever the eulogies might suggest

The eulogies are flooding in for Kobe Bryant, dead after a helicopter crash the other day. In fact, the eulogies are flooding in from people who used to hate the guy back in his playing days. Which is just the way it goes, I understand - you're not supposed to speak ill of the dead.
But from what I can glean, and contrary to the eulogies, he was not a very pleasant guy at all. Here's a less-than-flattering article by a Lakers fan from 2010, during Bryant's heyday, and here's one of the very few eulogies-tempered-with-realism I could find.
Clearly, Bryant was a good basketball player, that much is not in dispute. But apparently he had few friends, and made plenty of enemies both within basketball and within the press corps and fan base with his snide and destructive comments about others. He was undeniably a ball- (and glory-) hog and a thoroughgoing individualist in a team sport. And then there was the whole rape allegation thing, not ultimately proven in court as the victim chose not to testify, but pretty damning from what evidence did come out.
And who takes a helicopter to a basketball game anyway? Apparently, he would take a helicopter to games and even practices, which seems just bizarre to me The fact that his helicopter was flying on a foggy day when most other helicopters (including police helicopters) chose not to is still being investigated, and more details may yet surface. The press has been widely reporting that Bryant's 13-year old daughter was also killed, but let's not forget that so were 7 others.
Anyway, I'm not here to speak ill of the dead either. It's just interesting how people's tones change after someone died. The same thing happened with Toronto ex-mayor Rob Ford, villified and widely disliked during his life, but raised almost to sainthood after his death. I guess that's just the way it goes with polarizing individuals.

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