There is no question how great of a player Kobe Bryant is. He is one of the all-time great offensive players the game has ever seen, he is a lethal defender and is right up there with Michael Jordan as far as clutch shooters go. Despite all the noteworthy things that he has done on the basketball court, there are some things that he has done that aren’t so flattering.
The Lakers star shooting guard used a derogatory gay term toward an official after being frustrated with a call that went against Los Angeles during Tuesday night’s game against the Spurs. The league office fined Bryant $100,000 for the comment the very next day before the Lakers season finale in Sacramento.
It is still unknown exactly what Bryant said to the official, but it really doesn’t matter. It is unnecessary and truly uncalled for. I don’t care if it were in the “heat of the game” like Bryant says it was. Any slur, rather it be racial or towards a person regarding their sexually, has no place on the basketball court, especially towards a hardworking referee.
Bryant’s comments are not even the most disturbing about this entire situation though. It is the fact that he doesn’t seem apologetic about it, something that we have seen throughout his career. Through all of his comments since the game on Tuesday, Bryant has yet to issue a true apology, despite getting criticism from gay and lesbian groups as well as a gay former NBA player.
The city of Los Angeles has one of the largest communities in the entire country. I should know, I grew up there and go to visit my dad on a pretty regular basis. The veteran’s comments are not only stupid for the fact that they aren’t necessary, but they are also going to piss off a large portion of the Lakers fanbase.
Now it is unfair to call him a homophobe based solely on his comment, especially when we don’t exactly know what he said. Several of us out there have probably said at least one homophobic slur when we are out and about with our buddies, but that doesn’t mean that we hate the gay community. I know a few homosexuals, I even worked on a recent campaign for someone that was, and they have the same goals and aspirations that heterosexuals have in life. I am sure Bryant feels the same way I do.
It is also unfair to say that Bryant is the only player in the league that says inappropriate things on the court to officials. Several players do it on a nightly basis throughout the league, Bryant was just unlucky enough to have the TNT cameras catch him in the act. If cameramen were quick enough to get in on what the players were saying to officials in every game throughout the season, we would have a great reality show on HBO.
As we begin the playoffs this weekend, lets hope that Bryant doesn’t have anymore outbursts like the one he had earlier this week. The five-champion will soon be in the Basketball Hall of Fame once he decides to hang up his sneakers. For his sake, lets hope that his antics on the court don’t begin to tarnish his legacy.