Kobe Bryant Interview: Lakers Legend Talks About Being an A-Hole and a Terrible Friend During Surprisingly Candid Interview
Kobe Bryant did a lengthy interview with ESPN’s Jemele Hill at the BET Experience 2015 on Saturday for BET’s “Genius Talks” series. It was surprisingly candid, with the Lakers’ legend talking openly about his character flaws.
In the March issue of GQ, Kobe said “being a great friend is something I will never be.” When Hill asked Kobe to clarify that comment he said, “I meant that friends can come and go, but banners hang forever.”
After that things got really interesting. When asked what he has learned from strained relationships with teammates throughout his career, Kobe gave a very lengthy and enlightening response.
Check it out:
“Don’t be an a**hole. [Laughs] No, I mean, I’ve never been the most patient person in the world, and one of my pet peeves is laziness or people who make excuses. I can’t stand it. Working with Shaq, the guy, he’s a freak of nature. He’s mean when he plays, which I relate to. But there are other parts that I just didn’t relate to. So there are certain things that were strengths of his, like putting his arm around the guys and helping them be better emotionally and giving them support. I wasn’t very good at that.
“But my strengths were my focus and my dedication to the game. I had to sit back and say, ‘We have these disagreements, but what can I learn from him? What does he do well?’ And once I was able to look in the mirror and say, ‘OK, maybe you are being an a**hole?’ You’ve got to self-assess. All this stuff ain’t coming from [nowhere]. It’s not just made up. So once I learned that, I think we were able to go to a higher level as a team.”
“Honestly, I remember Rick Fox said something in a meeting that stuck with me forever. Because we were having a discussion and he said, ‘Kobe, we just want to feel like you’re a part of us.’ And I never looked at it that way. I thought, ‘What do you mean? I am. I’m practicing hard every single day.’ But that’s not what he meant.
“For me, stop being an a**hole really meant you’ve got to start approaching the game on a human level and understand that we are people and we need to have that connection versus this hard drive all the time. Because no matter how skillful you are, it’s an emotional game. If you don’t have that emotional connectivity with somebody or with a group, you’re not going to get at your highest level of potential.”
In case that was too long for your internet-era attention span, here’s a condensed paraphrase: “I know I can be a huge d**k, and over the years I’ve learned that I have to be less of a d**k in order to succeed at basketball.”
Seriously, who knew Kobe Bryant was a real human being and not a ruthless basketball robot?
Later, Jemele Hill asked Kobe about the d**kish thing he ever said to a teammate, and though he wouldn’t say who the teammate was, Kobe was honest about that too.
“I said, ‘Dude, you might want to reconsider what your life purpose is. Maybe it’s not this.’ It came out that way. I was like, maybe 20-something years old, I don’t know, really young.”
“You know how you think one thing in your head, like, ‘I’m going to say this, and it’s going to sound like this.’ Then it comes out and it’s like, ‘Oh, sh*t. That’s not what it sounds like.’ That is not how I envisioned it coming out. No, I meant, maybe you’re not reaching your highest potential by doing this. Maybe it’s something else.”
In case you were wondering, according to Kobe, yes, he made that guy cry.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]