Kobe Bryant: Local Youngster Johnny Ireland Wins Contest, Covers Idol for a Day

Congratulations to little Johnny Ireland, whose essay “Kobe is the Bestest” won a contest enabling him to become “Laker beat reporter for a day.”

The local youngster put his press pass to good use, peppering his idol Kobe Bryant with a series of questions like, “How did you get so awesome?” “Why are you better than everyone else?” "Why don't you shoot more?" and “Can I touch your shoe?” To little Johnny’s delight Kobe took the time to answer each and every question, employing a characteristic false modesty that was completely lost on the star-struck young cub.

When the interview was done Kobe offered a patronizing pat on the head and Johnny could soon be seen standing alone in a corner rewinding and replaying Kobe’s answers over and over on his brand new Dictaphone.

Later, when Johnny bragged that Kobe was definitely the greatest Laker of all time, a few of the old timers in the media politely tried to explain about Magic Johnson and the fact that Jerry West played without a three-point line and they even mentioned that Kobe wasn’t the best player on his first three championship teams. Johnny wasn’t buying it. In fact he spontaneously burst into tears!

Trying a different approach, one of the senior reporters gave him a hanky and tried to offer a few tips. The old pro told his young protégé that he had done real well, but he should also remember that sometimes players have their own agendas and they may try to manipulate the media with their answers. That’s why it’s important for a journalist to maintain a certain critical distance, lest they wind up becoming a hopeless shill. Remember, Johnny, this is journalism not public relations!

By that point, though, Johnny wasn’t even listening. He was being distracted by Laker owner Jerry Buss, who quickly approached and offered a big purple lolli...

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