I was watching NBC's coverage of the Olympics about 11PM EST on Friday night, when Kobe Bryant filled the screen for an interview. He said, approximately (I was a little bleary eyed) that the 1st time he saw his USA Men's Basketball uniform, he "laid it down across my bed" and just looked at it, "humbled" (A word many had previously believed was not in Kobe's vocabulary). "I had goosebumps", Kobe continued. This was frankly, positively startling. Kobe...arguably the best basketball player of our generation...was emotionally affected by a simple (albeit nice) basketball uniform. What up with that?
I'm a Philly guy. Lifelong hoops fan. And, for full-disclosure's sake, worked for the LA Lakers from 1991 to 1995 in corporate sales. During what was commonly referred to as the Randy "No Fun" Pfund & Del "Dull" Harris era. Interrupted, ever so briefly, by the 19 game Magic Johnson head coaching fiasco.
Kobe, as the son of former Sixer Joe "jellyBean" Bryant, claims "Philly-roots" when in actuality the guy grew up in Italy for most of his formative years. JB moved back to Philly with a sweet-heart asst. coaching deal @ St. Joe's Univ. when they thought they might have a chance of signing wunderkind that was Kobe.
As we all know that didn't quite work out. Jerry West, B-ball talent evaluator extraordinaire, took one look at the HS Kobe and deemed that giving up chain-smoking Seribian Vlade Divac was expendable (along with cash, future considerations, and the equivalent GNP of several Eastern European nations...or something like that).
So Kobe was a laker. And with Shaq...all was very good.
But Shaq...in Kobe's mind...was too, well, Shaq-a-licious. (In other words, "he ain't no [fill-in the name of any center on the Michael Jordan lead Bulls]")
Oh, and I didn't have sex with that woman in Colorado either...Or...IF I did she wanted it, too. (Survey says: Wife Gets 5 Carat Diamond!)
So...as you can tell...my feelings about Kobe are...conflicted.
But I agree that he is the best NBA player of our time.
(With LeBron a-knocking)
I was just astounded that such an "anointed one" could be so --seemingly & heart-feltedly-- taken aback by the very sight of...a basketball uniform.
Sports Uniform Guy