Just Saying, Is All… | The Real Conspiracy Against Kobe Bryant

Pity the victim of his own imagination.

Kobe Bryant fans are fiercely loyal. They’re also mildly paranoid. Whenever an anti-Kobe article is published anywhere on the Web, supporters of the Los Angeles Lakers guard rush to his defense crying “Media conspiracy!”—which would be better news if they didn’t so often misread the threat in their haste.

Nobility means comforting the afflicted.

Neurosis, on the other hand, means afflicting the comfortable.

I’m not suggesting that Kobe haters don’t exist. All champions have their share of challengers, and the blogosphere wouldn’t be the blogosphere without a Bryant-bashing lunatic fringe. But marginal lunacy is hardly proof of mainstream bias. In a media culture that worships success, the gravest danger to Kobe’s iconic status comes from the zealots most committed to preserving it.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Duress is in the mind of the beleaguered.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the example of Kobe conspiracy theorists, it’s simply that man bears the burdens he imposes on himself.

Sports fans love underdogs. David over Goliath, Rocky over Apollo, any team in the league over the Lakers—our sympathies incline towards the little guy, because the little guy has more to win in victory and less to lose in defeat. The problem, though, is that our preference for petiteness makes us prone to perverse inferiority complexes. Bryant backers will argue that they protect Kobe’s legacy by standing up to big bad media bullies. I’d counter that they do more harm than good by pretending Kobe’s legacy needs protection in the first place.

It’s bad to be slandered by your foes.

It’s worse to be slandered by your friends.

Kobe’s critics may be crazy to question his credentials, but at least th...

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