Kobe Bryant had it all, threw it awayKobe Bryant faces the trial of his life. On Nov. 11, his fate will rest with a jury who will decide whether to put one of the greatest basketball players in jail ― possibly for a long time.
A 19-year-old resort worker in Cordillera, California has admitted that, after an invitation from the star basketball player, she went to his room and kissed him. She’s since filed sexual assault charges claiming the sex that later took place was not consensual.
This is just another sad story in the record book of athletes’ screwups. Kobe, you had it all. A wife, a kid (what’s more precious than that?) and tons of money to keep them happy.
Legions of fans happily plunked down a few bucks for a jersey with your name on it. In the fantasy leagues you were gone in the first round. Kids worshiped you. They wanted to be just like you. But in the end it didn’t matter to you. Now you probably think playing second fiddle to Shaq for the rest of your life wouldn’t be such a bad shake, if only the whole affair would fade away.
O.J. Simpson’s 1995 case, in which he was acquitted of killing his ex-wife and her friend, still lingers in our collective memory. But you had to do something to rival that. It seems that star athletes just never learn.
When you took that oath two years ago and said “I do,” you gave your word as a man to make your wife happy. It turns out you are not so manly after all. Just one of the boys ― a big boy, perhaps, but definitely not a man. Anybody can make babies, but it takes a man to raise one.
“But now I just pretty much, you know, give it up. I’ve pretty much done all I can,” Bryant told the press. “Now I’ll let God carry me the rest of the way. I feel comfortable with that.” That shows you haven’t learned a thing. Not a bit. If God had his way, Kobe, he would turn back the clock and turn you into a eunuch serving at some emperor’s harem.
If you ever pull out of this whole fiasco, please do so with whatever dignity you have left. Oh! And no book, please! It’s the worst thing you could do.
As for the woman, if Kobe is convicted, she is a victim. No question about that. But innocent? I’m not so sure. She told the sheriff that she expected Kobe “to put a move” on her when she accepted the invitation to his room.
Excuse me? This sounds to me like an invitation for trouble. So she was prepared to kiss him but didn’t want to go all the way. So what was she looking for? Bragging rights?
I don’t think the world of sports will ever see the end of these kinds of episodes. At age 25, Kobe was already enjoying his stardom, never mind achieving it. That’s an age when normal people have just begun their careers.
One tends to think that the older one gets, the wiser, but then you have people like Rush Limbaugh. I don’t think many people are prepared for the challenges that come with stardom. It’s just a matter of where an individual fits in on the learning curve. The only thing that can protect these star athletes from falling into the abyss is some common sense.
The experience will be devastating to some, and, as in Kobe’s case, hard to bounce back from. Whether he is acquitted or not, he’ll never be the same Kobe to us.
And I know Kobe won’t be on my fantasy roster anymore. There is no place for stupidity.
by Brian Lee
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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