Just Saying, Is All… | Kobe Bryant’s Tarnished Legacy

We are the sins we leave behind.

Kobe Bryant is a flawed legend. He’s also a faultless mortal. When the Los Angeles Lakers guard finally hangs up his Nikes, he’ll be remembered as much for his vices as for his virtues—which would be worse news if vice and virtue weren’t equally found in all gods under the sun.

Remorse means envisioning yourself as you might have been.

Realism, on the other hand, means seeing yourself as you have to be.

I’m not suggesting that Bryant is a model citizen. There’s no denying his checkered past, and his critics are stating the obvious when they call him selfish. But then again selfishness makes the world go ‘round. In a league where survival depends so heavily on personal fitness, it’s only natural for a superstar to fixate on his personal condition.

Even the best team has a worst player.

Even the best player has a worst game.

If there’s a moral to Kobe’s story, it’s simply that our poorest performances can’t be purged from the record books.

NBA fans are habitual hero-worshippers. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Michael Jordan—they’re sacred figures, objects of devotion for the crowds that adore them. The catch, of course, is that reverence isn’t quite the same thing as respect. Bryant’s most loyal supporters put him on a pedestal in spite of his defects. I’m more inclined to pat him on the back precisely because of them.

It’s good to be holy.

It’s better to be human.

Kobe may go down in history as a hopelessly blemished icon, but he’ll at least deserve credit for having shown the world a brutally honest image.

Existence precludes the possibility of perfection. To try is to tumble short; to walk is to wander off. Kobe Bryant’s tarnished legacy is that which he didn’t choo...

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