Kobe Bryant, remembered
What's up open floor globe this Bengal with the Washington Post? I am joined on the other line by Michael Pena of SP SP nation. Now Michael. We are speaking on Monday morning. Of course tragic news hit on Sunday Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Jonah. Who was thirteen? Thirteen years old. Were both passengers in a helicopter that crashed near Calabasas California which is about thirty miles or so north west of Los Angelis both Kobe Bryant and his daughter. Jonah passed away as did the other seven passengers of the helicopter of course. Kobe was sort heard of legendarily known for flying the Kobe chopper around. La To beat traffic both during and after his career It's a horrible tragedy. I think that that speaks for itself. Michael I'm curious. I mean first of all. I'd like to ask for some bandwidth you know and some understanding from our listeners. We're trying to pick up the pieces after this. You know huge news event. I just like everyone else. I don't know about Michael but I'm running on very short sleep. It's been emotional High Stress Twenty four hours so bear with us here for a little bit scatter brained. If we're all over the map but Michael. I thought we would start sort of with the remembrance of Coby Okay Bryan. We'll dig into how you heard the news and what the reaction was around the league and everything else but I think just right off the top. What is your number one? Kobe Bryant memory memory from his career. Twenty years with the Los Angeles Lakers number four all time. NBA Score Five rings to finals. MVP's two Olympic gold medals. There's so much to pick from. What's your number one memory of Kobe? Bryant Man Ben this is it's it's so difficult to pin this down to just one thing I mean I grew up a some know this but I grew up a celtics. Fan and Kobe was especially once the Celtics started to be relevant and competitive in the late two thousands. Kobe was public enemy number. One and I I did not like him at all. I'll say that upfront Is this a case where public enemy number. One actually under sells it. I mean I feel like the animosity that rivalry specifically made made him the most polarizing guy in the sport. The most hated guy in Boston. I mean how far can we take this for sure I. It's it's tough to go beyond that at the time and from two thousand eight two thousand ten I mean I yeah I did not like him at all But you know looking looking back on it now. I mean I had so much fear. Every single time he had the by did not want him to shoot you know. Even in the six hundred twenty four game might did not want Kobe Bryant to shoot the ball. I was petrified of him. I exhaled every single time. He passed the ball or subbed out of the game. He was terrifying lying opponent. And that's bad news Michael because he liked to shoot and he urged shot early shot off and I don't think you're too much during his career where you're kind a hold your breath for twenty straight years. Yeah that's exactly that's exactly right And I mean doc rivers said it really well. Yesterday he was was just such a great opponent. And you know. I can't speak for Kobe or anything like that but I can. I would be willing to bet that his two thousand ten championship championship over the Celtics meant a lot more to him. Personally than the two thousand nine one over the Orlando Magic. It was just that it was a great rivalry It is forever lodged in my brain for a euphoric reasons and impossibly painful ones and You know speaking just in the context of basketball which is obviously not what we're here to discuss entirely That's what I kind of pops into my head. Just when I think about Coby O'Brian and and the different dimensions of who he was as a basketball player. Yeah if I remember back to his retirement tour I believe he did say that title was the most meaningful of the five for him because of the the heated nature of the robbery and I guess the revenge factor as well you know I have an interesting Prism on this. I think too because growing up in Portland Oregon. I mean the Lakers were sort of the the hated rival as well You know it might not be that same level as the national rivalry of the the Celtics and Lakers. But man you know. Big Market Small Market Hollywood versus hometown. I mean all that stuff was absolutely at play for Blazers fans growing up I did actually. I had another kind of layer to my relationship as as kind of a basketball fan with Kobe. Brian Brian especially early in his career. Because I was like personally offended. Anyone would try to be the next Michael Jordan right of course when we're all out in the you know the cul de sac doc or on the street or in the gym shooting turnarounds with our tongues out wearing twenty three in games. Everybody wanted to be the next Jordan right but I always felt like Kobe was just taking get too far. You know I I was such a devout Michael Jordan Fan. It was like he was this impostor who is this guy Who deigns to be like Michael Jordan? Wisey see challenging Michael Jordan and the All Star game doesn't he have respect for this guy and I think as his career evolved. He shed that connects Michael Jordan. Label fairly quickly I think the fact that he had the Shaquille O'Neal partnership was one step towards that I think You you know. Just the the longevity factor of how long he played canopy gave him his own lane as well And then you know. Of course Kobe was just. Kobe had his own personality. A It really came through with the Black Mamba Mentality. Stuff that You know he kind of pained his entire persona on late in his career. And that's really when I came around to Coby I. I moved to Los Angeles during his last year. And I was thinking yesterday how it like time in L. A. is all like you know. It's like before Kobe and after Kobe. It's like BBC at a D. right so it's like my first year in La was Kobe's last season. The retirement tour and I was completely transfixed I mean for years I had been kind of killing the Lakers overpaying on his contract what are they doing you know. Don't they realize that he's post Achilles adult they realize that he's not as efficient efficient as it used to be east shooting his team out of games. He's standing in the way of his teammates developing. But when you get down there and you understand the cult of personality. The size of the Lakers fan base the fact that he could go for forty and they would rather than anybody else take shot You realize you're kind of of in a different spot and I was just captivated more than anything by his personality. I think my number one memory of him well might have been depressed conferences where he was alternating tornadoes between like three different languages Italian Spanish and English at the drop of the hat and it was just like. Oh my God who is this guy like. How many professional athletes in America are able to to converse fluently with international media members? You know no problem whatsoever and make jokes and and like you know get positive reactions in three different languages but I remember the All star weekend in Toronto. His last all star game and remember he had been kind of giving all these tributes and and various things during his retirement tour but at all star weekend members of the foreign media came up and presented Koby with gifts right and this is like a huge breach of protocol as a media member. Not supposed to ask for self eased. You're not supposed to Ask for autographs. Certainly you're not supposed to bring like Italian soda. Unlike Fan art with Koby wearing like a Camo and you know swinging Samurai swords as like a goodbye present to Kobe and I was struck. You back on that moment because the APR people right there and they did not step in and it was awkward. And we're all kind of looking around snickering a little bit. Like oh you know. Don't these reporters quarters know what they're supposed to be doing. Kobe was so incredibly gracious In that moment he was just absolutely beaming and it was sort of like the. The League was allowing him to have this moment of global embrace On his goodbye tour whereas like hey these these reporters were almost stand ins for the millions of fans that he had in China millions of fans he had around Europe and Asia and everywhere else. who were sort of saying goodbye to him? I thought it was just a really touching moment. Captivate that kind of captured his impact on a lot of people. I mean love him or hate him. You know Kobe Bryant was the Kinda guy you love or hate it. He pulled emotions out of you. You there was not really any way for you to sit on the fence about him and he knew it and he leaned all the way into it And that's why he's you know perhaps APPs the most beloved La sports icon ever. And I think that's why at forty one years old. His death is so shocking in so stunning adding to people he had that personal connection in a way that very few athletes do. Yeah all that's really well said in Ben I mean my his last season was also so my first season actually covering a team. One specific team is a kind of like a beat writer. Hey what I mean Michael. Don't we judge it all in Kobe years in La 'cause you were in La there briefly so your your first year was Kobe's last year. Is that right. Yeah and so I can only speak to who who he was. During that one season it was from the most bizarre NBA season. I mean it was a hell of a way to cover a a basketball team. It was just you know from the Ngelo Russell Nick Young to just Roy. Hibbert Metta World Peace Lou Williams the characters in that locker room. Stop Right there Michael. Was it a basketball team or was this just the Kobe Bryant show because I remember it as being like Kobe Bryant and yes. He has teammates. But Not really. You know no it was all everything was catered to its Kobe that year. It's like come on like He. He didn't practice. There was still like no resentment from the teamates he made. Everybody knew what they signed up for that year. It was like should we develop the young guys. Now it's all about Kobe like his thirty seven years old is body's breaking down. It's all about Kobe. And and you know watching from afar I can understand why that was ludicrous but when you were there I remember like I think it was. It was In early January game against the sixers and this was the this was the process sixers so this was just. I can't even remember a single player who is on the floor for that team off. The top of on my head and staple center was sold out that night and it was like a Wednesday game like Co.. I don't know how many any points Kobe scored. But he did play and there were. MVP chance and there were Kobe chance and there was not an empty seat in the house and to contrast asked that with you know we just talked about John and his debut and how we were disappointed. PELICAN's fans for not showing up like at my respect level for Laker fans hands just went to a completely different area of the Galaxy when I attended that game and saw their love for him and what he meant to them and again I just want to go back and say like I can't I can't Look at Kobe from any other perspective than the season that I was up close with them And whenever you asked him a question and a post game press conference. I'm glad you brought up the the the multi lingual how he just went from one language to another as definitely as he did but another thing about him in those press conferences. That was so memorable to me. Any was every time you asked him a question not every time but at least for me he made you feel like you were it was just like you and him in the room and he was just speak he was he would stare straight into your soul answer the question with like such technical precision like it was just it was honestly a joy I learned so much that year ear from him just hearing him talk about basketball Waiting forty five minutes after games by his locker with just I mean you can't even imagine agean cameras the cameras that were there the you know. Everyone's bustling and and jostling to Kinda get a question and it was just like a sweaty sauna of postgame walk around like those those memories I will never ever forget. And that's the thing I mean. He was almost like this religious icon. His fans were devoted to him in a way that very few players kind of connect and I think the same deal kind of with the media. He was able to just put everybody under his spell and I think his critics despite CEO he was a little bit fake he was Hollywood. He was just manipulating everyone pulling the puppet strings but you go try to stand in his orbit ask ask him a question have him look deep into your soul. Understand that this guy knows more about basketball and has thought more Sort of heavy life topics then you probably we have and then he's going to explain it in very eloquent fashion and then you try not to be overwhelmed by that moment. I was right there with you. Michael I remember asking him a question about Alan Iverson complete throw wages softball type question Because Iverson was going into the hall of fame and this was that one of the all star weekends and Kobe went on for like four minutes. It's about a personal connections. Just telling all these stories and if I was supposed to be recording or or you know taking notes or whatever you can forget about it I was just staring deep into his eyes in like this is one of the greatest moments of my writing career and I think that you can talk to almost any NBA writer and they Who who spend time around him or ask some questions and they would have that exact same experience Michael? I want to ask you though because you're talking a lot about that final season. I believe I believe you were at his career finale. It was so funny because in the days leading up to that I was actually in that sports. Talk Radio position where it's like. I was in Portland and I had to choose to go. Watch the warriors win seventy three or do I go watch Kobe's final game and I basically had my pick sports illustrated with saying you know. Do whatever you WANNA I do and my reverence for Michael Jordan was so high and still list that I was like look. If someone's actually going to beat seventy two I need to be there. I need to to write this capping column to Salute Them. And you know bring back some of the Jordan memories in just witness it for myself. If we're seeing greatness on this level you know Michael I call myself. It's awful wind connoisseur right you know. I appreciate greatness I wanted to experienced personally. And wouldn't you know it. You know this moment that I thought was it's impossible to ever happen to seventy three wins never thought someone was going to beat the ninety six balls and wound up. Being the sub headline. This is the second biggest story of the day because Kobe overshadowed the greatest regular season of team of all time by scored sixty points odd fifty shots dropping. The microphone Just in sort of his entire career boil down to one night. I believe you made the Kobe choice. Rather than the warriors choice in my right I have the option but I did attend that game. Yes and I think honestly speaking like if I did have the option I would have. I would have chosen Kobe. Yeah I mean I boy. What a dummy? I was thirty seven but like you never like the whole season the emotion You know of basically that year but then also just all the other memories that you have koby they'll be leading into that final game. Nothing could have prepared you anyone for what he did. Sixty points fifty shots scored ten points in the last minute. Forty Five I. I actually re watched Large segments of that game this morning just because I think it's one of the most special things and people can criticize it for being inconsequential consequential and it was the seventeenth. Win of the season for the Lakers. So take that for what it is but it was. It was incredible. Like I don't care what anybody says I mean I I remember I remember so much about game but I was I was going back and re read my column from that night and I had this line in there It was A quote one on our before the opening tips staple center felt like a high school graduation blended with the prizefight inside the most exclusive church on the planet. And that's like what it was it was you looked to your right. There was snoop Dogg. You look to your left. There was Kanye you looked. There's Jay Z.. There's Kendrick Lamar. There's shack there's Derek Fisher. There's Lamar Odom like everyone. was there at every single time out. They played commemorative videos Of current players like Lebron Paul George and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving saying thank you to co be. It was just it was. Miraculously you know by the end. Down the stretch because the Lakers were down double digits for most of the game and cope. Who's just jacking up? Shots down the stretch I mean I remember just being overcome with emotion like A. My eyes were watering I couldn't I was so difficult to process what was happening It was the loudest arena. I've ever been in in my entire our life like when the Confetti was dropping just sitting there completely shook I couldn't move like it was it was such a scene and all real quick. All this is for the son of Bob cousy. I mean listen. Growing it's expanding these tearing up at staple center watching Kobe do his thing. Look Mike all say this by rule if you quote yourself on this podcast you're opening yourself up to a lot of potential jokes and wisecracks for me but that line you just put out. There was beautiful. I mean they had summarized it and the reason why I know it was beautiful is because I got goosebumps and I got jealous and started hating myself for not going to that so very well done. Thank you and But I just want to say like the game was amazing of course but like it was the pre-game and it was the post game. That was so so special like after it ends. He grabs the microphone. He thanks His teammates thanks Laker fans. He thanks Vanessa. His wife and and he does the infamous famous Mamba out kisses his fingertips drops the Mike and then the post game press conference you know normally at Staples Center there is a specific room for Post game in pre-game press conferences. And for this when they opened up this other segment of the arena. That is normally reserved for You know like an NBA finals game to accommodate all the media and it's like this giant cavernous room and it was packed with media members. and Kobe's presser was like about. I WANNA say like a half hour long and it felt like it would never end and when it finally did You know I was looking around. In several media members were standing and clapping which is like the Cardinal Sin of sports journalism. And in that moment I thought they were foolish and looking back. It's like almost jealous that I didn't do the same thing it's a it was just such a powerful powerful moment and our top of that people were angry they to get photos with him afterwards. Right I've seen some photos of longtime journalists going to hug him in basically salute him and say thank you for everything again very unusual but also in in out moment understandable. You mentioned how the Lakers only won seventeen games that year. I think for us as writers though I mean they went undefeated. Colby Obi after those games was just on fire all season law and the game was not on the court. The game was in those press this conferences where he is just dropping knowledge and wisdom and basically like test driving some of his theories that was gonNA wind up becoming his post career life right. You know the animation stories stories and inspirational books and the deer basketball note. It was like hey. He knew that maybe he was on his last legs on the court but from creativity standpoint he was just getting started. Did so as like I'm GONNA use these fifteen to twenty minute long. Press conferences after I shoot four for nineteen to just see what kind of a storyteller I really can be and you know like I said earlier. We were all eating it up now. Michael I said earlier. Maybe that all star weekend scene was my favorite Koby memory but the more I was thinking about it i. I do think that there's a strong contender. Maybe that was my favorite memory for his career. But last month Kobe Bryant braci on the to the Lakers vs Mavericks Game In late December at Staples Center. They sat courtside. And anytime Kobe's in the building you know. Since what's his retirement he gets the biggest OV- actions there there is right. I mean he is he is way more beloved and Lebron James. The crowd standing ovation. Anytime he's shown on the Jumbotron traumas just sort of this kind of right passage with Kobe. He was there with his daughter and I was very curious to to just get a sense for her because she's almost become this mythic. Like many Mamba. You know the Mamba. Sita where you know Lebron's talking about how she could grow up to be this. WNBA STAR and Kobe's he's invested so much time in in coaching her and You know setting up these tournaments and everything else and it was a similar personal final exploration for me when I did this story about Brawny James. Because you get these second and I think in her case third-generation basketball stars and they have everything everything at their disposal right. I mean all the privilege all the money all the wealth all the power all the connections that could potentially alter your personality audie. When you're a young kid are available to you? So what does that look like in a thirteen year old Young Woman and the sheer joy She had the smile on her face the fact that she was just almost overwhelmed to meet Luca Danni into posed for a photo with him and of course Kobe. Kobe step back and was the proud down. Wanted to take the photo with the two of them standing side-by-side it was remarkable from from Kobe as a father. But it was also just very telling to me of Yana as a young aspiring basketball player. You could tell there was nowhere on the globe. She would rather be than meeting. Luca Danni in that moment right. And I kept thinking and a Luca's only like six years older than her right. I mean it's it's crazy to even think about that but You know it was almost like she was looking towards him. We're looking towards some of these. NBA players players. Maybe like Kobe look towards Michael Jordan. When he was her age you know and you could just see the generational things playing out and she was so at ease And and had such a wide captivating smile. She was her father's daughter. I mean there's no question about it and you watch some of the highlights of her playing you. You can see some of his tendencies. I know people doing the side by side photos of of each of them biting their jerseys but it did remind me a lot of of brawny. You know it's like I I don't understand how these kids are so normal and so good Given the circumstances that they were brought up there's every opportunity for the for their personalities to kind of go. Oh you know one direction or the other and yet to me in that moment. She struck me as Exactly what I had hoped for. You know somebody who just lived breathed basketball and you know Michaelides. We're starting to talk about the right way is to honor Kobe. It's a complicated question Because it's so shocking. It's so stunning. There aren't a lot of precedents here. and certainly from the Lakers organization. I mean this is going to be something that hangs over the rest of their season. I mean this has been an absolute joy. Reid for the Lakers all year. There's no doubt they're going to devote you know this title. Oh push to him but you could see it with Lebron James's tears coming off the plane yesterday. This is going to hit them very very very hard at all levels of the organization on top of that he was supposed to go into the hall of fame this summer. The hall of fame induction is not going to be the same without him right even all star weekend coming up to me to a certain degree there's going to be Kind of tragic feeling hanging over what is usually a very festive. Event is just not going to be the same and I guess I'm already sort of emotionally bracing for that but I'm also trying to spin it forward in a way and here's my idea. Michael Tell me what you think outside of staple center as you know in a lot of our listeners. Know there's a lot of statues you guys Shaquille O'Neal dunking you've got criminal Dole Jabbar the bar with the skyhook. You've got magic leading the fast break. You've got Jerry West in the logo driving motion. Kobe obviously is going to get a statue you but I think that the best way to do this. If I was the Lakers I would put both Kobe Anjana in the statue. I would make it like the bean and gee-gee statue you and maybe they're sitting courtside and they're smiling watching the game and maybe there are some empty chairs next to them so fans can go sit down next them and maybe feel part of it but I think that had the defining characteristic of Kobe Bryant as a person as a player was his devotion to the game and you can see that and all sorts of different things the Achilles response the final night of his career the five titles even in some of the negative things like you know his split with Shaquille. O'Neal I mean he was just absolutely Louis. Devoted single-minded his view a basketball and he was unrelenting but I think his devotion to the sport came through most purely in his relationship with his daughter and I. I think that's the way that's the best way that I can think of to honor his memory. That's beautiful I couldn't agree any more And it's really I mean it. Just it shows a lot of his his growth over the years and You know this is someone who who else teammates Was a bit of a loner for the early parts of his career. Didn't have a lot of friends and One of his great legacies is is spreading the love of the game to his daughter and to countless others and that is to teach and to encourage. And so I think that would be really beautiful And I second everything that you said about. Just you know how the layers of this tragedy and how it'll hang overhead for I mean the rest of this season share but I I mean beyond that I I think I think they just have no comparison to how tragic this Michael let's Dig in a little bit just days. Yesterday I'm still here in New Orleans I I was preparing to watch my`son Williamson go against your Boston Celtics in an open floor head to head duel. When I heard the news and I had it just gotten back from a beautiful nature walk in the swamp I try to take a boat to or yesterday morning but got rained out? So I'm just kind of you know putzing around my hotel room When I start to see the you know the initial report and working to confirm it and you know going through all those journalistic layers putting together a story get down to the arena trying to find just the initial initial reactions from people I mean the arena especially among the team? Staffers and the media remembers was basically a wake or funeral. I mean that'd be the only thing that I could compare it to. I saw people crying for sure openly. you know players. We're having a hard time you know kind of forming complete sentences or You know fighting through tears as they talk. Same thing with Alvin gentry entry was doing his best to remain composed and Certainly he made a comment that you know there's basketball and then there's real life and this is real life I thought Brad Stevens tributes to Kobe were great. He mentioned how you know. His high school best friend had been recruited by Kobe's dads so we got a chance nice to see Kobe. Bryant play in an open gym at sixteen and his best friend came back and told Brad is the best sixteen year old play. I've ever seen in my entire life and that's pretty much out worked out. He also said that you know Celtics players and Celtics. Staffers were kind of surreptitiously trying to get Kobe. Bryant's autograph You know during his retirement mature You know the the last time through Boston which I thought you know coming from Boston. And that's like the ultimate respect right So you had everyone struggling ogling to sort of put this moment to words to go through the motions of playing a game And that was something that we saw around the league whether it was trae young wearing Kobe. Bryant's Jersey number and scoring forty five points Damian Lillard going offer the Portland Trailblazers named both. Those guys have always pointed to Kobe as kind of major influences or You know guys that they look up to throughout their career But I was just in a state of fog and to be honest the fog has lifted. I mean it's been a very very difficult. Twenty four hour period. I'm curious Michael. What was your day like yesterday And how you doing how you hold up. Yeah Yeah So yesterday there was a knicks nets game in New York where I live and I normally don't attend those just because because You know I mostly cover. Whoever is in town so I get to see for reporting reasons? I get to see the The Nets and the Knicks. Basically anytime I want so I usually sit those out and just kind of watch the NBA from my couch and there was a lot of action last night. So that was my plan and then when I got the news as a as I got a text from a friend of mine. Who's like did you hear about Kobe? And the first thing I thought of was the Kobe was going to come back to play for the Lakers. That's like before I went on twitter. That's like because this person texting me about Kobe. Not a normal thing so I knew it was a big deal and that's what I anticipated when I opened up twitter and then I saw the TMZ report. And like I was this. I was gutted in a way that I was not anticipating at all and I did not go to the game because I just could not be around other people people and so like you. I'm still processing this. It's still. It's still stunning. I was at the gym this morning. And watching highlights from Last night's action. And you know I'm on the treadmill and I see the trae young half court shot that goes in and it's like I'm almost getting choked up on the treadmill it's like it's It's just so much to try to process and you know. I think that some players yesterday they did not want to play. And you know one marcus. Morris was like why we should not have played the game. Some other people made statements about how all the A game should be cancelled. And I I I I agree with that. I think I see the the business aspect of it and you can't just tell fans Who have already showed up to an arena paid for tickets that the game has cancelled? I understand that and you know what we also were blessed with was the the commemorations the as you said the trae young wearing number eight You had the twenty four second shot clock violations and the eight eight second Half court backward violation brilliant by the way I mean just strokes of genius. Whoever came up with those I mean as a basketball guy? I did not even think of that. I didn't even conceive of it and to me that was. I mean that would hit hard. When when I heard saw that they were doing that out? That one blew my mind. That was just beautiful. So if you don't play the Games you don't get something like that and I I hear what you're saying though. I mean it was very very difficult position for the lead to be in especially from the timing standpoint because it's not like they add five hours before the tip off right there. Were these rolling tip-offs on Sunday where some early games and so you can't wanted you cancel all. Is it a case. By case you let the players decide what do you do ultimately I think your approach of staying away and I believe Kyrie Irving did the same thing too right and he leave the arena. Yes I mean to me and I made this point about Kyrie. At the beginning of the season I mean I think that that is an incredibly mature response. If you're dealing with grief if you need time and space rather than going through the motions rather than putting yourself on television where you know you're feeling sick to your stomach or nauseous or just like you don't feel like you should be there. I think that I kind of Tim. I had to carry. And he's in a unique situation because he's a superstar so he can sort sort of do what he wants to do but I hope he's not getting any criticism for that and I think that he actually sent a pretty good message without one. You know if you guys are struggling with tough news like like this whether it's about Kobe Bryant or someone in your family in you need time and space to get through it take it you know and hopefully your employer in in your company will support you on that Grief is just one of those things that gets to you in different ways and I can come in waves. You know it can. It can come and just Kinda stab your real quick nick Unpredictable can change your personality. Change your mood and it's so important to You know self reflect. I guess at that time and for he went through that with his grandfather last year he was very open about the impacts. And I think You know he said a really good example there from the League's perspective. I don't personally have a problem with the fact that they've played those games But I will be curious to just read the reporting here as it comes is out. How was the decision made Where people given the options or anything like that because some teams that took the court just didn't want to be there you know and they said that and they look that way and you know they'll never remember what happened on those courts because they were in a Fox sort of like the rest of us? Yeah one hundred percent I mean regardless regardless of. There's almost nothing. There is nothing that could have happened on the basketball court yesterday. That would ever be remembered beyond commemorating the death of Kobe and the tragic loss of life. Eight others hey. I'm Andy if you don't know me it's probably because I'm not famous but I did start a men's grooming company. He called Harry's the idea for Harry's came out of a frustrating experience. I had buying razor blades. 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I mean I look certain players you know. Certainly Jordan certainly Bill Russell for me the Magic Johnson. you know would be above Kobe. I think Tim Duncan would be above Koby for sure. I think Shaquille O'Neal Might Uneven be above Kobe And you can go on with other players may be Kema Lajoie on some people would argue will chamberlain cream up dolch bar. I guess I'm curious when you're looking back with what we've described as kind of his major transition kind of going from hating the guy to sort of respecting the guy I to being moved by the guy to grieving his death. I mean what is his legacy. Do you think when we're talking about best players ever or when we're talking about kind of I've icons within basketball. Yeah I mean. That's a tough one. I just I remember just for so long Arguing doing about arguing with people who worshiped Koby Bryant who thought he was Either the best player in the world at any given time or deserving of the MVP or better than Lebron or whatever it may be. And I don't no not like the just like those things seem so Fruitless right now and you know if I tansel your question like yeah I agree with you with basically everything you just said. I think he's one of the fifteen best players who ever lived and I think he'll be remembered numbered for a lot more good and bad That he did on and off the floor and It's just a really complicated. Aided legacy that he leaves behind in so many different ways. There's a lot of good. There's a lot of bad and And on the court he was peerless in a lot of different ways that you can't really. I honestly think that if you are a player who is trying nine two he was either in the NBA or trying to get to the NBA You kind of view. Kobe in a different way than everybody else is just kind of on the sidelines. Watching the game name and so there's no question. Look I mean he might be top fifteen guys who was outsiders but I think among his peers right he is top five and he he might not be free you might not even he might not be four or five right. I mean I think he's right up there. Let me. Was the office Alpha the players player. I mean I think so. Many professional athletes view themselves in the same vein as a Kobe. Bryant right they want to be seen as clutch. They want to be seen as reliable. They want to be seen as sort sort of doing whatever it takes to win And I think even high level all star athletes would look at Kobe. And be like at this guy is different. He's willing to go farther and push his body further than I am like. He's he's he's just a maniac he's got a maniacal worth work ethic. That even stands is out compared to his contemporaries and so I do think he's going to be remembered a little bit differently within a player circles. Maybe then sort of outside outside circles. You're right to touch on the highs and lows of his career. I mean we can't take this podcast without mentioning the Colorado incident The sexual assault allegations allegations and in the suit civil suit settlement. That came out of that When you look back on that chapter of his career I do you think a lot of writers especially if you have spent time with him felt like that was almost like a turning point or maybe the turning point of his career where it's like? He realized he was no longer going going to be like Mike. This perfectly pristine hero figure and now he was going to need to embrace almost villain side of things Or the more polarizing polarizing side of things and just lean harder to like the Black Mamba mentality of. I'm this ruthless guy. Who's just going to stop at nothing to To win titles. And when you score points and and everything else I mean is is that how you view That chapter or do you look at it differently. I I suppose so uh-huh it's obviously a very dark time and there's a victim involved and it's really difficult to talk about and it's it's really difficult to have this entire conversation In the wake of such a tragic event glorifying someone who who was alleged to to do something like that? So I do think that post Colorado Colorado Kobe was definitely Leaning into the Not Not really caring at all what anyone thought about him. I think was the big takeaway from just those years. Afterwards when he was just so antagonizing and Phil Jackson writes about this in several books. I mean he successfully trolled even the Zen master right who arguably is one of the greatest trolls in NBA history and it was like He. He outflanked Zen master. And the troll. Game any yeah exactly. So I mean Phil Jackson basically said he was was uncomfortable during that season and didn't have a lot of good things to say about him so it's it's really difficult to process in the entirety of who he was and his entire life and the steps that he made he does a father afterwards. And I don't like it's just really difficult to judge. You know it's just really difficult. Yeah part of it is because we don't know the full story right Part of it is. We don't know all the details and It is a part of his legacy that is not going away and I think it's a part of his professional career. That cost him an awful lot of fans. Endorsement deals and everything else and I think for some Kobe. Bryant fans fans who would hope the Dow which is not mentioned here You know upon the sudden tragic and just kind of horrifying that he passed You know I think that's that's it's not quite right. I do think it needs to be discussed. It needs to be included in this conversation. Michael My last thought on all this as I was struggling to find sort of historical stoorikhel comparisons you know because I think people. Maybe we're going to like Princess di or Michael Jackson or or comparison points like that for Kobe when I was thinking talking about kind of sports The sports context the name that came to mind for me. Was Roberto Clemente and I just remember growing up as a kid. I used to read a bunch baseball books when I was a little kid. And he was kind of painted like the saint like figure. I mean here he is doing all this Puerto Rican sensation baseball player. Doing all this good work donating time and money to Central America and and You know other Third World countries have tried to improve those communities and he dies. I believe at thirty eight years old always remembered he had exactly three thousand hits. I think he was something like a fifteen time all star. Maybe an Koby obviously was in eighteen time. all-star they're similar ages when they passed Clemente dies in a plane crash. Kobe dies in a helicopter helicopter crash to me. I think that's the best Comparison point that we really have. I mean Major League Baseball wound up renaming it. Citizenship unshipped award. I think after him they inducted him into the hall of fame Essentially immediately and his spirit and kind of memory lived lived on for years and years and years and to this day. Really I mean I think most people have a certain image. If they've heard of Roberto Clemente they know what The name means something to them and I do think as we've just discussed you know. Kobe story is more complicated than that. You know I think that usually time. We'll sort sort of You know beef. Favorable to famous people and it will remember their best moments and maybe tend to forget or downplay their worst moments. So I'm not going to say. Hey that you know. Kobe is going to be remembered by everyone as a saint on that same level with Clemente. But I do think that that is the natural comparison comparison point here and growing up just trying to you know I was a little kid just trying to wrap my mind around the idea that you know such a baseball talent who could have been part of the sport for another thirty or forty years in some capacity whether it's managing her as an executive or scout. Or you know maybe that the head of a baseball federation I I country or whatever else The idea that that was cut short so early just really blew my mind and I feel the same way about Kobe. I mean this was supposed to be a guy who shows up and sits courtside SORTA like Bill Russell or Kareem or a Michael Jordan for decades to come And you know if nothing nothing else we knew that he was going to have his fingerprints and NTSB around ask ball because he was such a mythic and I- conic figure and that's just not going to happen and to me that's the the hardest the hardest part of this process. Yeah the most painful element of death is what could have been in a lot of instances and Roberto Clementes are really good parallel. Well I was when I was in the second grade. My First Little League team was the Pittsburgh Pirates and I knew very little about baseball at the time and So I did a little bit of research and tried to find the best Pittsburgh pirate was who ever lived and it was Roberto Clemente and so oh for a school project Later that year we had to dress up as a historical figure basically and I just wore my baseball uniform. Perform so your school. You've got a bunch of Thomas Jefferson's George Washington's and then Roberto Clemente Pena showed up. Basically that is this beautiful. Michael you live such a fascinating life. Whether it was Roberto Clemente or Dennis Rodman. I guess you hit your teen years. Then you went to the Rodman side of things exactly. Yeah it's two in the same really. Yeah so look. That's a beautiful. I think we should end it on that. I mean everyone can just take away this beautiful picture of Michael in his Pittsburgh pirates uniform celebrating the life of Roberto Clemente. And let's be honest. You know there's going to be tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of young kids out there putting on the number eight point on the number twenty four and even Zahn Williamson last night said that he had both jerseys when he was a kid. You know in some ways Kobe's legacy is just getting started and that's wild to think about because we've known him in the public eye since he was a teenager taking brandy to prom and making the cover of sports illustrated high school American. And everything else. Michael Michael. Thanks so much for sharing memories walking us through your day yesterday And you know some of those great personal experiences that you described e-mailers. I know Oh Kobe Bryant connected with you one way or the other. Let us know. Open floor male edgy. MILL DOT COM open floor male edgy dot com. We'll pick up regularly scheduled programing Later this week I will be back in Los Angeles. The Lakers will play the clippers on Tuesday Certainly that will provide plenty to discuss thus when we get back and Michael I look forward to talking to you about all that Later this week for now you guys can go to apple podcasts and search for open floor. That's that's two words. When you find our page scroll down it will say rate and review tout five stars? It's just that easy to help us. Spread the word Michaels on instagram and twitter. Hat Michael Visas and Victor Pena. I'm on Instagram at Ben Doc Oliver. I'm on twitter at Bengal we've been putting up All sorts of different tributes to Kobe Bryant Some videos from over the years That I shot in various locker. Room situations You know a story kind of recounting. Everything a calm home about his legacy is going up here shortly. So there's plenty of stuff if you want more. Kobe just check Our social media pages. I'm sure you'll be able to find it all right Michael until later this week I will talk to you.