Me x Kobe Bryant x Dear Basketball
Whenever I interview someone who’s incredibly well known and popular, my goal is an obvious one: Find something new out. Most people know this person’s general life story and highlights.So my question for you—after you read this interview I had with Kobe Bryant for Flaunt Magazine—is did you learn anything new about him? I think I dug out about--hmmm--three intriguing nuggets. Each third of the story has one.
Talking to Kobe and Disney animation legend Glen Keane (he drew Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast!) about their Oscar-winning short Dear Basketball was a treat. I’m a huge Kobe fan. Players who entered the NBA in the mid-‘90s were the ones I watched bloom into stars and Kobe was my favorite. The skill, the passion, the talent, the Hip-Hop meets Air Jordan 2.0 vibes... He was dope. So much so that I wouldn’t play as anyone but the Lakers on NBA Live or 2K from about 1997 to maybe 2010 or so when I stopped being a consistent gamer.It was difficult to keep my cool, but thankfully I don’t think they could tell. The interview went well and writing the piece was a breeze. We rapped about Michael Jackson, storytelling, discovering your life’s purpose as a youth and more.
A story about the photo shoot for this Flaunt piece: During the photo shoot for this interview, I was talking to his Dear Basketball publicist about one of my goals for the new year. We were just days into 2018 and knowing that I closed ’17 eating wild and glorious amounts of food and sweet treats, my goal was to lose 15 pounds in January. Kobe overheard me. About 10 minutes later, he walked over and looked me up and down—sneakers to the longest strand of hair on my head.“You’re trying to lose weight?” he asked. “Yeah,” I said. I told him that I'd looked up Dwyane Wade’s weight (we’re about the same height), saw that he’s 220-ish and thought I could get there with some discipline. Kobe asked how I was feeling so far. Cutting back on eating garbage is pretty easy, I explained. But the 4-5 gym workouts a week that I had picked up were making me sore and tired as hell.A smirk crept onto his face as his shoulders shrugged, like a two-piece combo of indifference and hilarity just presented itself. “Your body will get used to it,” he said through a light chuckle. “Yeah,” I responded. “True.” We shook hands. He left.
On my way home, I too laughed. That was such a Kobe response. He probably never complained about the temporary pain he endured during the thousands of hours he’d spent training in gyms, running on tracks and recovering from numerous injuries. He knew it was part of the process. A little work and pain now, a trophy later. That’s a fair exchange. I took it all in while sitting in the back of my Lyft headed home, grinning ear to ear. “Kobe didn’t give a fuck about my gym pain because he’s a bad-ass and bad-asses aren’t trying to hear that shit,” I thought. “That’s why I love that dude.” Then I snapped out of it. Haha, what a nerd I am sometimes.By the way, I lost that 15 pounds. Again, go read my Kobe story.