This Kobe Feature Is Awesome But I Have One Major Problem With It

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ESPN

I want to preface my point by saying this was a great piece. Ramona Shelburne clearly spent a ton of time with Kobe and captured his essence. There were some telling anecdotes and masterful quotes.

But I’m getting a little tired of the blind Kobe love. Yes he’s an incredible competitor. Yes he was obsessed with greatness. But let’s not pretend he was the perfect person.

My main problem comes when Ramona dips her toes into the Kobe Colorado situation. When you hear the words “Kobe” followed by “Colorado” you instantly know the story. Kobe was accused of rape by a hotel worker in Colorado. He initially denied even having sex with the woman before admitting he did, but it was consensual. Which meant publicly admitting that he cheated on his wife Vanessa.

“Kobe had famously bought her that $4 million purple diamond to apologize. He had cried and begged her to stay with him a thousand times over. But no amount of money, tears or words is enough to erase the pain of publicly humiliating your wife and the mother of your 6-month old child.”

Okay first of all a $4 million diamond ring? FOUR MILLION. That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. And that’s supposed to just make everything better?

Later we get to 2011 when Vanessa filed divorce papers. Ramona writes that in order to prove his love for his wife, Kobe taught himself how to play the piano.

“I wanted to play something nice for Vanessa,” he says. They’d been fighting again. Vanessa filed divorce papers in 2011. Kobe was desperate to hold on to her. He wanted a grand gesture.

“Sitting down and taking lessons would be too easy,” he says. “So I taught myself by ear.”

It was harder than he thought. His fingers have been broken and jammed so many times over the years that they don’t really bend anymore.

“But he had to show her. He had to hold on to her. They had a family together, and he would fight for it as hard as he did the last time.

Taking lessons wasn’t enough. Anybody can do that. Kobe had to be exceptional. So he’d put headphones on, listen to “Moonlight Sonata” on loop, and try to figure out the music on the keyboard in front of him.”

My problem is saying Kobe “proved his love” to his wife by teaching himself to play a song on the piano. That’s the standard nowadays? That’s how he “proved” his feelings for his wife? How about not cheating on her. Maybe start with that. I’m sure teaching yourself to play a song on the piano takes a lot of hard work and time. But how in the HELL does that translate to him loving his wife? Are we all just gonna accept that? Does Ramona Shelburne actually believe that teaching yourself how to play an instrument translates to loving your spouse?

Once again I want to reiterate that this piece was a compelling read. And I actually like Ramona Shelburne and enjoy her writing.

But I’m really tired of everyone praising Kobe’s 60 points (on 50 shots) and saying how great of a competitor he was. We know. And I sure don’t want to hear about him fixing his marriage by playing a song on a fucking piano.

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