Kobe Bryant’s Mistake Was Allowing His Emotions to Take Control

June 16th, 1996—Father’s Day: Michael Jordan wins the NBA title for the first time since his father’s death. An emotional Jordan weeps in the locker room, endearingly hugging the trophy like he would his father. Reporters and teammates surround him and congratulate him, but all Jordan is focused on is the trophy—his gift from dad.

That moment will stay in my mind forever because it was the first time I saw my role model cry.

It was then that I realized that athletes are emotional people. They have to be. Without emotion, players would be useless. Emotions drive athletes into unbelievable stages and create the most memorable moments in sports.

Unfortunately, they can also take over at the worst possible time.

Kobe Bryant was a victim of this when he spoke the words “f***ing f***ot” in front of a nationwide audience. Within a second, everyone started bashing him and calling him homophobic. Now, even though these people are entirely in the right to be upset, we have to remember that Kobe is not the first player to mutter these fateful words during a game.

Kevin Garnett did the exact same thing on an even bigger stage back in 2008, during Game 3 of the Celtics/Cavaliers playoff series, but he was never fined or criticized for it. Why? It was captured on television and broadcast across the nation for everyone to see. His lips were easy enough to read and it’s clear that he was saying what we all thought he was. So why wasn’t Kevin Garnett shamed with the title of “homophobe?”

The f-word is just as hurtful today as it was three years ago, so why is Kobe Bryant being treated so differently than the other athletes before him?

By no means am I suggesting that Bryant should not be fined or that it is acceptable to use a derogatory word because you are overcome with emotion. All I’m saying is that in the heat of the moment, while...

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