There has been a lot of public debate over Kobe Bryant’s legacy- his outstanding NBA career as well the 2003 sexual assault allegations leveled against him.
Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley spoke to NBC’s Today and shared that Bryant should be remembered for both his basketball career and also for the sexual assault allegations. Barkley said, “You have to tell the picture in totality. We’re not making Kobe out to be no hero. We’re celebrating his basketball excellence. We understand what happened in Colorado. That’s fair, but two things can be true.”
Barkley added, “Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest basketball players ever. And he had a flaw that we all know about.”
Bryant had been accused of sexual assault by a 19-year-old female hotel employee in Colorado, where he was undergoing knee surgery in 2003. He admitted that he had cheated on his wife Vanessa and also claimed that the sexual encounter was not forced but had been consensual.
The woman, however, was never identified in public and had refused to testify at trial. The prosecutors dropped the charges against Bryant and the two later settled a civil lawsuit for an unknown amount, outside of the court. The case has been making headlines ever since.
Recently, celebrity anchor Gayle King was also heavily criticized for re-scratching Kobe’s sexual assault history and even received death threats for asking WNBA legend Lisa Leslie about the 2003 sexual assault case in an interview. Retired Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar agreed with Barkley and spoke to the Hollywood Reporter.
Meanwhile, retired Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar agreed with Barkley and spoke to the Hollywood Reporter. “We can love and respect Kobe without canonizing him as perfect. Death often immortalizes the ideal rather than the real. But it was the real Kobe, flaws and all, that we should love,” Jabbar shared. He also addressed Snoop Dogg’s and 50 Cent’s comments to Gayle King saying she needed to back off.
“Snoop Dogg has 39.1 million followers on Instagram and 50 Cent has 25.3 million followers on Twitter. When they send out to their followers a threatening and abusive tirade, they are influencing a younger generation of men to continue to refer to women who don’t do what men want as bitches. Worse, King started receiving death threats,” Jabbar said.
Bryant and his daughter Gianna, 13 tragically lost their lives along with eight others in a helicopter crash on January 26.