Kobe Bryant was at the BET awards show Saturday (everybody hasan awards show now). He went to the BET Experience at LA Live and did an interview withinterview with ESPN’s Jemele Hill, where she asked him about about his friends. Kobe was vintage Kobe (as reported by ESPN’s Baxter Holmes).
This is not the first time Kobe has spoken of how his quest for titles, his sacrifices to the basketball gods included him forgoing close friendships. He said this to Chuck Klosterman in GQ earlier this year.
I have friends. But being a “great friend” is something I will never be. I can be a good friend. But not a great friend. A great friend will call you every day and remember your birthday. I’ll get so wrapped up in my shit, I’ll never remember that stuff. And the people who are my friends understand this, and they’re usually the same way. You gravitate toward people who are like you. But the kind of relationships you see in movies—that’s impossible for me. I have good relationships with players around the league. LeBron and I will text every now and then. KG and I will text every now and then. But in terms of having one of those great, bonding friendships—that’s something I will probably never have. And it’s not some smug thing. It’s a weakness. It’s a weakness.
We as a society venerate people who are single-minded in their focus, from playing basketball to making great sushi. Kobe has that kind of focus, but it doesn’t necessarily make them great people. Remembered, for sure — Kobe will have a statue outside Staples Center in Los Angeles in a few years. But the kind of person you’d want to hang with, go have a drink with? Maybe not.
What you have to respect about Kobe is that he is self-aware and understanding that for him this is a choice.