For years, Kobe Bryant has decided to keep a diary to document “the year he caught Jordan”. While Kobe refuses to remove the diary from a pedestal in his trophy room, he has allowed Writing Bareback the exclusive rights to post these excerpts.
April 18 – Los Angeles
You never like to find yourself in the gossip rags. Maybe that was a thing you were into when you took Brandy to prom, or when you started dating your future wife while she was still a 17-year-old high school student, or when you loved her too much for a prenuptial agreement. And maybe the rags will make some overblown statements about “alleged rape” and “an oversized ego sabotaging a dynastic duo” or accuse you of completely undiagnosed libel like “chronic infidelity.” And of course the rags feast on the rigors of evolving love when that lack of a prenup would later force you to temporarily divert your once-in-a-generation focus from basketball—the only thing that matters in life—to buying a marital redemption ring that costs more than the collective net worth of the “team” bench unit. Gossip rags notice little stuff like that sometimes and you just have to deal with it because you can’t have nuclear power without some fallout. While I’d never be so arrogant as calling myself a Christ-like figure, negative attention is simply my cross to bear.
That said, you’d like to think it’s even beneath a cheap lie-monger like Radar Online to publish a single quote from Donald Sterling. I hate to even proliferate their garbage here, but sometimes you have to step into the darkness to appreciate the light.
“Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 but not suspended for referring to a referee as a ‘f*cking f***ot’ on television,” Sterling said in his first example of his speech-related offenses. – Radar Online
Small-minded indeed. There’s a difference between being a young, historically legendary competitor who slipped one single time during the heat of competition with an insult from his youth that has long been abolished his vocabulary along with millions of dollars he donated to charitable organizations as a show of true contrition and change, and being a decrepit, old bastard who has literal decades of racial hate and homophobic bigotry on the books.
Plus, last time I checked, nobody bought season tickets to watch an owner sit in his chair. That’s a harsh reality we’re forced to face when we evaluate two very dissimilar situations, but when dealing with topics as sensitive and subjective as moral truth and proper penance, you have to take a 360-degree view. And three or four or five rings goes along ways in determining someone’s societal worth. So just like a great winner has to deal with the scrutiny of the masses, the masses have to be forgiving of a single, verbal, insensitive hiccup from a great winner. It’s compromise and forgiveness like that that really makes you greatful to be a part of this world.
Anyway, I just needed to exorcise that very heavy topic here in my private journal. You never want to head to your 4 a.m. gym session with that weight on your soul. That 700th elbow jumper is heavy enough when you think about age, your “teammates” abilities, and Jordan-esque expectations of a sixth ring in a truly competitive conference. You don’t need some spectre of public criticism ebbing it’s way outside of the neat categorical hurt locker you’ve created for it in your mind.
Sometimes I think of Tim Duncan. He’s probably the only one who understands that kind of thing. We’ve always been so similar.