Kobe Bryant More Rush Limbaugh Than MLK?

Thumbnail image for kobe-bryant-jump-shot-full-body.jpg
Rushed shot?
An ESPN columnist asserts that Kobe Bryant's charmed life--having a father who was an NBA player, growing up in Italy, going to a public high school in the Philadelphia suburbs, entering the "pampered" NBA himself and, yes, residing now in Orange County--makes him come off more like Rush Limbaugh than Martin Luther King Jr. when discussing race.

In "Kobe Bryant's Colorblindness," Jason Whitlock reacts to a recent story in The New Yorker where the Black Mamba was asked about the Miami Heat's hoodie photo in support of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old boy who was killed in Florida by overzealous neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.

The Lakers' superstar, who lives with his wife and daughters in a gated Newport Coast community, answered with "a mouthful," according to Whitlock.

"I won't react to something just because I'm supposed to, because I'm an African-American," says Bryant in the March 31 issue. "That argument doesn't make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we've progressed as a society? Well, we've progressed as a society, then don't jump to somebody's defense just because they're African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won't assert myself."

Some have praised Bryant for that answer, saying it shows this country is moving beyond race, just as Dr. King dreamed it would. But Whitlock points out the Heat took their photo before charges were filed against George Zimmerman, a time when media figures like Geraldo Rivera argued that wearing a hoodie made Martin suspicious.

"The Heat did not demand a conviction," Whitlock writes. "The Heat did not make any collective formal comments during or after the Zimmerman trial. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Heat reside in Florida, where the controversial 'stand your ground' law is being used to justify the use of deadly force. Trayvon Martin was Floridian and a Heat fan, and he was killed in Florida."

Then comes the bit I referenced above:

"Kobe Bryant lives in Orange County, Calif. The son of an NBA player, Bryant grew up in Italy. He attended a highly regarded public high school in an affluent suburb of Philadelphia and then waltzed into the secluded, pampered world of the NBA.

"Perhaps it should not be all that surprising that Bryant can't relate to Martin or the actions of people such as James and Wade, who can relate to Martin's plight. Martin, James and Wade grew up in a similar fashion."

Photo by Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Kobe Bryant with the only other black he could find in Orange County.
Brace yourselves:

"Kobe appears to have more in common with Limbaugh. Maybe that explains Kobe's disingenuous appeal for colorblindness when the Martin case clearly called for fair-minded people regardless of color to factor in America's complicated racial history."

Whitlock cannot recall Bryant "saying a word about anything racial or controversial until now. A cynic might argue Kobe didn't start perverting Dr. King's dream for the approval of Limbaugh & Co. until injuries deteriorated his NBA fame."

Oof! Low blow.

After backlash from Bryant's New Yorker comments--which, come to think of it, Whitlock is piling on to--the shooting-from-the-hip guard took to Twitter, retweeting a Frederick Douglass quote he posted on Instagram two days after Zimmerman was acquitted and that was supportive of Martin and tweeting anew that Trayvon was "wronged."

"One more time for the tweeting impaired, this is NOT about legal debate or sides. It's about equality on ALL fronts #colorblind #genderblind," Bryant also tweeted.

Ah, well, for his entire career, Kobe Bryant has been compared to Michael Jordan. Here we go again, apparently: MJ was criticized for having downplayed his blackness throughout years, especially when hawking whitey's Nikes.

And don't get me started on the Hanes tighty whiteys.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter


as I have told ( warned for you leftists, especially white) oh about 10000 times

blacks are catching on to your game

dems need for the poor to stay poor

so they will continue the trickery with nice sounding names for all their "help"

but you are suckers


Mitchell_Young topcommenter

Zimmerman is a Mexican or some other form of Latino...let it never be forgotten. 

John JT Tran
John JT Tran

I already knew it was Jason Whitlock. He has made it his career to hate Kobe. Go ahead and read all his articles about him.


Kobe like many only knows what he sees in the media, which blatantly lied about Trayvon Martin.

The police time line has Trayvon standing about half an hour just inside the Twin Lakes complex before being spotted and reported by Zimmerman. Trayvon runs and hides while Zimmerman is on his cell to police, then approaching from behind returns to the area where Zimmerman is waiting for police and attacks and beats him.

After knocking Zimmerman bleeding with a broken nose to the ground, Trayvon sits on him and continues the beating for a minute while Zimmerman screams for help and tries to get away, but does no harm of any kind to Trayvon. When Zimmerman's gun is exposed Trayvon reaches for it, Zimmerman saves his life by drawing and firing one shot.

Nothing about race, hoodies, or skittles, just a teenager beating up the neighborhood watch guy for reporting him to police.

Doc Gee
Doc Gee

Whomever made that statement is still on the plantation and a "hater."

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

He anally raped a girl in Vail Colorado ... of course he's a Rethuglycan.


"You sit and listen to the facts like in any other situation, right"?  Right Kobe...we've all sat and listened to the facts on your rape charge...and you raped that girl and got away with it scot free. What's it like to be a rapist Kobe?

Chris Chapple
Chris Chapple

Oh, who gives a fuck? In two short years we won't have to worry about this anymore and this club house cancer won't keep us from landing good players.

Brainwashed_in_church topcommenter

So the gist of this article is that race should be a factor in making objective decisions and being open minded "You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right?"  isn't the best policy.

Got it.

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