I awoke Monday morning with my typical Monday attitude : grumpy. The first thing I do in the morning, before even realizing which day it is, is read the news. 

Morning ritual

The posting on the ESPN website really woke me up. Kobe won an Oscar?! Suddenly, I was awake!! Like the smell of bacon cooking in the kitchen; my brain cells were all alive and firing on all cylinders. 

To make a story very short, I was never, not ever a Kobe Bryant Fan. Not even during my teenage years (1996 until 2000). Why wasn’t I a Kobe fan, despite finding him cute and sexy? 

One word… 

Arrogance! 

AFP TOPSHOTSBKN-NBA-FINAL-LAKERS-MAGIC S BKO USA FL

He was cocky! He wanted to emulate Michael Jordan, but even if Jordan could occaisonally be an asshole while playing, the next thing you knew, he would be a gentleman with his teammates after a game, playing poker with them. 

With Kobe, it’s a different scenario. I understand so much, Kobe being a loner as some say. And that’s okay. I’m a loner myself. But, don’t be an asshole and don’t be selfish until your last game.  

So waking up with one of the athletes that I do respect because damn the guy is one of the greatest but will he put into our face a I’m was many time a MVP player in the NBA and now, I’m a Oscar winner and his cockiness will be again in display? 

So my morning wasn’t as sunny and bright as it could have been with this news. I told myself – “Please Sab be objective on this one, maybe he does deserve this recognition. Maybe his short animated film is good. “ 

Kobe Bryant Oscar 2018

Then, I read that his film, “Dear Basketball”, is actually a short autobiography. Quickly, I wondered if he would recognize that he wasn’t always a gentleman and class act. Will his film depict that he is a man with flaws and will he acknowledge some of the awful things he did as a human being and as a man to his peers, his adversaries and to some women?  

Kobe Bryant Dear Basketball

All those questions were in my head and I couldn’t wait to watch it, but I was a little bit scared of watching it. 

Scared? Me?! How come? 

I was scared that I would like it and become more objective toward Kobe. 

Guess what?  

I truly watched his movie from an artistic point of view and not as a feminist, or with an anti-Kobe basketball fan attitude. At the end, I was happy to be more objective. 

I do have faith that we can all change for the better. 

For me, Kobe always seemed very self-conscious about his image (like one of my exes) and he wanted to be portrayed as the perfect guy. 

I always put Kobe in my ‘phony people’ box. His attitude toward the incident in July 2003, his relationship with Shaquille O’Neal (Now, they have made peace. Yeah! for the Lakers fans) but even, his last game as a NBA player was all about him and I’m sorry, but LeBron is and will always be the team player of the two of them.

LeBron James, Kobe Bryant

All of those examples made me wonder if Kobe truly would be different as a writer. 

Will he always be all about him and this perfect guy persona, with the perfect family, the perfect career and now, the perfect Oscar? 

Maybe I got a glimpse of my answer while watching his Oscar acceptance speech. I was pleasantly surprised that he was surprised and that he wanted to break this athletic dogma that says a basketball player, for example, can just dribble and shut up.  

No! 

An athlete can be as artistic, as smart and articulate as an artist, a scientist or a journalist. For that, I do applaud Kobe for pointing it out during his acceptance speech .

Now, maybe Kobe can show his vulnerability and his true self through writing and being a storyteller. I watched “Dear Basketball” and I love the narrative, the drawing and seeing this little 6 year old boy dreaming and being mesmerized by this beautiful game.

Young Kobe dreaming

You could see, even in such a short movie, the fact that he was a very dedicated student. But, I wish the short film would have shown a little bit more vulnerability. Again, it is a short animated film, but, I want to see the real Kobe. Not the perfect Kobe image. I want to read, for once, an essay about how he truly sees himself, with all the glory and with all the imperfections and mistakes he made along the way. Or, he could do it in the same pattern he did “Dear Basketball” with an animated concept. He is a very smart man and I discovered an artist inside him.  

I could write a Ph.D thesis on how complex Kobe’s character is and slowly, we would see a different Kobe. Easily, I could have gone into talking about what happened in 2003. At the height of his career, there were allegations against this young man about being stupid and not being a gentleman toward a woman. He seemed to have been remorseful, and the allegations were settled but still, I cannot forget about it and how disappointed I was, even though he wasn’t my favorite player. 

But I am slowly discovering a different Kobe Bryant. 

We are discovering a man that lived his dreams to the fullest and with passion, but he may have discovered other passions that will unleash his true self. Maybe now, he will share his vulnerability, his disappointment and his mistakes, not by making a press conference, not by doing a one-on-one interview, but by writing a story. 

I’m ready to see this artist emerge with an open heart. I will watch as he crafts his new platform for showing us himself through a movie or a story. 

Yes, I’m willing to see it and be amazed by the story. 

How did a young introverted, black man grow up in Italy to became one of the greatest athletes of all time? 

Will Kobe let us discover the real Kobe Bryant? 

 Young Kobe

 https://dearbasketball.com

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

 

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