Kobe Bryant should be remembered for basketball, not off the court

Published 2:42 pm Wednesday, February 12, 2020

didn’t plan on writing another column about the death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. I thought my editorial honored Bryant and paid tribute to his impressive 20-year legacy in the NBA.

But I could no longer stand by after watching Gayle King’s controversial interview with WNBA legend Lisa Leslie on CBS several days ago. King has faced heavy backlash in the media for bringing up Bryant’s past.

Seventeen years ago, Bryant was accused of rape in Colorado and charged with sexual assault. We all know what happened – with the accuser refusing to testify and the charges were dropped. A civil case was settled. In a statement, Bryant acknowledged that he had sex with the woman and that she didn’t view it as consensual.

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King brought up the subject with Leslie. She said Bryant’s legacy is complicated because of a sexual-assault charge, according to the media.

Leslie said “it wasn’t complicated to her because she saw him being the kind of person that wouldn’t do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way. That’s just not the person that I know.”

Snoop Dogg and Bill Cosby were among the high-profile celebrities attacking King for her harsh questioning.

King is upset with the way CBS previewed an excerpt of her interview and has received death threats, according to her best friend Oprah Winfrey. From where I sit, King should’ve never interviewed Leslie about the one blemish on Bryant’s stellar resume.

King shouldn’t be receiving death threats, but the timing isn’t right to discuss Bryant’s infamous trip to Colorado. The city of Los Angeles, the state of California and the basketball world are still mourning Bryant’s death. Everyone needs time to heal.

Kobe Bryant is dead. He’s no longer around to defend himself and discuss the Colorado incident. I’m always against any man attacking a woman or child, but Bryant did not go to jail. Case closed.

From there, it’s between Bryant and his wife, Vanessa. She forgave her husband and they went on to have four children.

How Bryant and his wife handled the situation is none of our business.

If King and the rest of the media wanted to know how the 2003 incident affected Bryant, they had that opportunity to ask him a month ago, not when he’s no longer here.

In my opinion, Bryant repaired his image and retired as one of the NBA’s 10 greatest players. Bryant should be remembered for his five NBA championships and two Olympic Gold medals.

That’s how the Black Mamba should be remembered, not the Colorado incident. End of the story. Class dismissed.