It seems that not everyone is impressed and buying Kobe Bryant’s niceness nearing the twilight of his career.
Former ESPN reporter, Shelley Smith is currently battling cancer was quite surprised that she was given the chance to interview Kobe Bryant after reporting about his rape case more than 10 years ago.
“Kobe and I started speaking after 10 years. I am not sure if it’s because I had cancer or if it’s because he is in a weird place right now — he’s being nice to everybody right now because he wants to go out being beloved. I covered his rape trial in Colorado and there were things I reported that he disagreed with. He told me he’d never speak to me again, and this was 10 years ago. It was real nasty and awkward. At media day this year, Lakers PR came over and said he’d do an interview and he came up to me and gave me a big hug. My jaw hit the floor.”
Though the gesture was seemingly nice, Smith had her reservations about his actions.
“I don’t quite buy it. Everyone I talk to, no one believes it, because he wants to go out beloved like [Michael] Jordan did. He wants to go off into the sunset as a superhero, but we all remember how badly he treated a lot of us.”
For now, Smith doesn’t even see a good future in basketball after his career with the Lakers this season.
“I would be surprised if he stayed in basketball because he burned bridges coming up with players, coaches and front-office personnel. I think he’ll go into some sort of business. He’s very smart business-wise and he has a great brand.”