It’s a sad day for me, a day I never believed would arrive. Time is stalking us all, weakening our wills and our bodies, stripping us of our youth and pushing us toward the grave. Sports can serve as a reminder that our time on this mortal coil is brief, that our deaths are inevitable.
Kobe Bryant’s inspirational basketball career ends in Los Angeles tonight. Part of me — part of all of us — will die tonight.
To say that I am a fan of Kobe wouldn’t tell the whole story; as a child, it was difficult for me to find players to idolize, but luckily as I reached young adulthood, my prayers were answered, as the Lord at long last delivered an ultra-talented sports man that is Derek Jeter with none of the likability and Steve Jobs, but only a tad more sociopathic.
I know what you’re saying: “Dave, Kobe retired two years ago, didn’t he? Didn’t parts of his body fall off? I’m pretty sure you’re confused because there is a guy on the Lakers who wears No. 24 now but that’s some old guy who won a season-ticket holder contest that allows him to heave bricks and hang out with the players but it’s clearly not Kobe because no way would he have embarrassed himself to this degree for the sake of a retirement tour when he could have simply retired the moment he was done because he’s won everything a player can win.”
No! That’s actually Kobe Bryant!
To hold a player of this magnitude under a microscope as powerful as the one that has followed him throughout this season is an unfair spotlight; to truly appreciate this man, this person who is clearly thought of as a hero by many, including Kobe Bryant, we must look at his entire body of work.
Five-time NBA champion. Two-time NBA Finals MVP. One-time NBA MVP. Four-time…wait, he’s only won one NBA MVP? Really? Doesn’t that seem low for someone with an ego like the one possessed by Kobe, who comes across like a guy who believes he’d still be a five-time champion even without Shaquille O’Neal, a generational center and not some dude who hit wide-open jump shots on loaded teams because of O’Neal’s existence?
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, how can you not love Kobe?
Well, maybe if you were a teammate, you didn’t love him.
But you know what that was about? Just Kobe being honest.
And if you can’t get along with a player who sees himself as Zeus in a tank top, that’s on you, bro, not Kobe.
It’s important to let a classroom full of kids know how hard it is for you to be great by pointing how bad someone else is, and it’s okay, because he said it all to Kwame Brown’s face, which makes Kobe, again, a hero. How else would Kobe get his point across? Quietly and in private? Get lost, inferior human being.
This is the type of thing that leads to a person having very few friends or none at all. Here’s what he said in a 2015 GQ interview about having friends.
I have “like minds.” You know, I’ve been fortunate to play in Los Angeles, where there are a lot of people like me. Actors. Musicians. Businessmen. Obsessives. People who feel like God put them on earth to do whatever it is that they do. Now, do we have time to build great relationships? Do we have time to build great friendships? No. Do we have time to socialize and to hangout aimlessly? No. Do we want to do that? No. We want to work. I enjoy working.
Kobe admits this is a “weakness,” but it’s a weakness to him the way it’s a weakness when you get that question in a job interview and you say, “My weakness is being so great that very few people understand how great I truly am.”
Is being so incapable of the most basic human connections a bad thing for Kobe? Does that make Kobe the type of player who’s dangerous to worship or emulate, because who wants to raise a human who doesn’t care about people’s birthdays or being a great friend?
Of course not. It makes him a misunderstood loner, really.
You know who else was a misunderstood loner? Albert Einstein. John Rambo. And last time I checked, we all love electricity and slitting the throats of our enemies, so sell your Kobe hate to someone else.
Hey, remember when Kobe was charged with rape in 2003? I do! It was a case that was dismissed in 2004 despite the prosecution considering the witness 100 percent credible and is the type of thing that would have plagued Kobe for the rest of his career and life. But here we are in 2016 and Kobe is among the leading athletes when it comes to endorsement revenue.
How can we not spend the past five months praising and admiring this man, a man who admits he has no interest in socializing with anyone who’s not as sociopathic — excuse me, “driven” — as he is? How can that personality trait become problematic in a real-world situation that doesn’t involve “actresses” or “businessmen?”
Remember the statement he released when the case was dismissed? It included lines like, “Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure,” and, “Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.”
Look, that whole situation was difficult for the accuser AND Kobe. And hey, 14 months later, Kobe realized she didn’t consider what happened consensual, which is quite a magnanimous admission from a man so in love with himself and single-minded that he thinks other people in the NBA truly care that his corpse is giving up basketball as he drags the Lakers into the mire while cashing a $25 million paycheck based on how good he was eight years ago.
I’m sure going to miss that guy.
Just kidding. Kobe is garbage. Watch the Golden State game tonight instead.