That may be my favorite line this year, and it comes from GQ’s profile of Kobe Bryant (via TrueHoop). Personally, I would take a helicopter to work if I made $23 million. Except my commute is to my living room most mornings, but even then I still I might do it.
Maybe no other player in the NBA could pull this off. Kobe can do it because he is Kobe and because he lives in Los Angeles. The city worships him and the city has no fear of excess -- if you are going to go over-the-top in LA, you have to do better than just taking a helicopter to work. We expect our excess to be more salacious than that.
And Kobe has a good reason, anyway. He always has a reason.
What makes Kobe fascinating -- what a writer of the caliber of J.R. Moehringer (Andre Agassi’s biography “Open”) does a good job getting at in this piece -- is that you can’t sum up Kobe simply. We want our athletes to fit into neat little stereotypes, but Kobe is too complex a person to do that with. He is not simple, he takes time to understand, and even then you really don’t understand him completely.
The article traces Kobe’s career through his various injuries -- up to and including his current broken finger that is “three different shades of purple and five kinds of black.” But that is just to tie the narrative together, the goal is to paint a picture of Kobe the person. As much as that could ever be done. The article is worth reading because it comes as close as anyone has.
Although at the end you still won’t understand the man.