imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

The other side of Kobe

Going with the worldwide issue that is Kobe Bryant, I felt compelled to write something, too, about him.

So much has been said about Kobe Bryant, fellas.

Kobe was a 5-time NBA champion, 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team, 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), 2-time NBA Finals MVP winner, 4-time All Star MVP, 11 times All-NBA team, NBA slam dunk champion and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He led the NBA in scoring during two seasons, ranks fourth on the league’s all-time regular season scoring, and ranks fourth on the all-time postseason scoring list.

Going over what happened minutes before the crash, press releases stated that at 9:44 AM on January 26, 2020, the helicopter was traveling above Highway 101 by Calabasas at 160 mph. The pilot then climbed about 875 feet in less than one minute — slowing the helicopter’s speed to 125 mph — then made a sharp left turn. He appeared to have lost contact with air-traffic control. The pilot had been ascending to avoid a cloud layer.

“Radar data indicates the helicopter climbed to 2,300 feet and then began a left descending turn,” National Transportation Safety Board officer Jennifer Homendy said. “

Around 9:45 a.m., the helicopter crashed into a hilly area in Thousand Oaks at about 1,700 feet. It had been flying at about 153 knots, or 176 mph, according to FlightRadar24. The helicopter was 11,000 pounds heavy. Pieces of the helicopter were scattered around the hillside, over about 500 to 600 feet, near the crash.

It was a “high energy” impact that killed all 9 onboard.

“The crash impact broke the helicopter into pieces, creating a debris field stretching about 500 to 600 feet. There is (an) impact area on one of the hills and a piece of the tail is down the hill, on the left side of the hill,” she said. “The fuselage is over on the other side of that hill, and then the main rotor is about 100 yards beyond that.”

Interestingly, Mario Gonzales wrote that not everyone loved Kobe Bryant for the following reasons:

1. Kobe had no NBA friends. With very few exceptions, Kobe Bryant has no friends in the NBA outside of the Los Angeles Lakers. His ultra-competitive nature simply will not allow it. He doesn’t want to hear Dwight Howard’s latest joke or make dinner plans with Wade for after the game.

2. Kobe had cold outside behavior. After a game it’s not uncommon for Kobe to only manage a few words about the game, and most of the time they are merely variations of the same thought. Some people take this approach to the media as “cold, and stubborn.”

3. Kobe was a loner. After the departure of Shaq, Bryant was left with a cast of less than desirable starters. The problem was Kobe’s drive to win remained unchanged, and it drove Kobe to attempt carrying the entire team on his back. Kobe was taking more shots than ever and leading the NBA in scoring. This caused people to label him a “bad teammate, a ball hog.”

4. Phil Jackson deemed Kobe “un-coachable.” Phil Jackson, in his book The Last Season, claimed that Bryant was “un-coachable,” that he was too stubborn and would often go against the grain of the team. These comments from Phil solidified what most people had been suspecting of Kobe for a long time, and added to their distaste toward him.

5. The Shaq breakup. The truth was that Kobe and Shaq were feuding. It was management however, that broke up the team. Shaq was due for a new contract come the end of the offseason and the bitter truth is that Jerry Buss had no desire to re-sign Shaq for max dollars when he was noticeably starting to age.

6. Kobe bashed Andrew Bynum on video. Kobe had been dissatisfied with the Lakers attempts to surround him with talent, and was unusually upset about it one day when he heard that the Lakers passed up a chance to get living Legend Jason Kidd for the then-lowly Andrew Bynum. He actually says on camera that he can’t believe LA didn’t pull the trigger on the deal saying “for Bynum? Who is that kid anyway?” Kobe thought Bynum was very expendable, and the media and fans alike thought he was a jerk.

7. Kobe demanded a trade. Kobe Bryant reached the end of his rope with the Los Angeles Lakers and publicly requested a trade on a morning radio show. He stated clearly that his frustration with management had reached a boil and that he would like to explore the option of playing for another team. Only a few hours would pass before Bryant would announce that he did not in fact want a trade and that he was simply caught up in the moment. These words from him did not calm people down however.

8. Kobe shot badly in the 2010 Game 7 finals vs. the Boston Celtics. This led to some claiming that because of that he shouldn’t have gotten the finals MVP award. People just expected him to be so perfect that when he had a poor outing, suddenly he’s “nowhere near the shooter Jordan was.”

9. The rape case in Colorado. The Colorado incident in which Kobe Bryant was accused of raping a hotel employee was catastrophic to Bryant’s reputation. It halted his basketball career in mere moments, altered the entire NBA’s opinion of him, scared off many of his lucrative endorsements and made him public enemy No. 1 for women the world over.

The Kobe Bryant sexual assault case began in July 2003, when the news media reported that the sheriff’s office in Eagle, Colorado, had arrested professional basketball player Kobe Bryant in connection with an investigation of a sexual assault complaint filed by a 19-year-old hotel employee. The woman accused Bryant of raping her in his hotel room on July 1. Bryant admitted to a sexual encounter with his accuser but insisted the sex was consensual. The case was dropped after Bryant’s accuser refused to testify in the case. A separate civil suit was later filed against Bryant by the woman. This was settled out of court and included Bryant publicly apologizing to his accuser, the public, and family, while denying the allegations. As a result of the case, endorsers dropped him en masse (save for Nike, which simply put a pause on his shoe line); cable networks covered the case obsessively and he didn’t play for the Olympic team in 2004. There were also news of his arrogance inside the Lakers organization.

I don’t know if I’ll get bashed by Kobe fans out there for writing these things but I must admit I am a Kobe fan, too.

Peace men! ●