Category: Sports

Exactly what it is.

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Kobe Bryant and His Catholic Faith

Here is something interesting, that I never knew about. Kobe Bryant is Catholic, and turned to a priest in his hours of need.la_u_kobe_600x600

From a GQ story out today (Note: GQ isn’t known as the most morally sound site, so please be cautious if you visit for the whole article, I link only for attribution purposes):

Which brings us to the hinge-point in the career of Kobe Bryant: the week he checked into a Colorado hotel room, had sex with a woman who worked there, and was subsequently arrested on a sexual-assault charge. A year later, the charges were dropped and Bryant apologized. But the incident will (obviously) never go away. When Bryant dies, the accusation will probably appear in the second paragraph of his obituary. And he knows this.

“I started to consider the mortality of what I was doing,” he says. At the time, he was 24. “What’s important? What’s not important? What does it mean when everybody loves you, and then everybody hates your guts for something they think you did? So that’s when I decided that—if people were going to like me or not like me—it was going to be for who I actually was. To hell with all that plain vanilla shit, just to get endorsement deals. Those are superficial, anyway. I don’t enjoy doing them, anyway. I’ll just show people who I actually am…. The [loss of the] endorsements were really the least of my concerns. Was I afraid of going to jail? Yes. It was twenty-five to life, man. I was terrified. The one thing that really helped me during that process—I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic—was talking to a priest. It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, ‘Did you do it?’ And I say, ‘Of course not.’ Then he asks, ‘Do you have a good lawyer?’ And I’m like, ‘Uh, yeah, he’s phenomenal.’ So then he just said, ‘Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in his hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go.’ And that was the turning point.”

Most people know right away who Kobe Bryant is without explanation. But for those of you who may not, the simplest way to explain him is to say that he was once called “the next Michael Jordan,” and that quickly turned into “could he be better than Jordan?” He is the all time leading scorer for the Los Angeles Lakers. He won 3 NBA championships in his first years in the league, is a perennial All-Star, a 3-time Gold Medalist, Slam Dunk Champion, NBA MVP, Scoring leader… the list goes on.kobe_bryant_quote_typography_by_nathanhankinson-d5x7afc (1)

But, since 2003 what most of his bio’s mention, almost immediately, is a 2003 sexual assault charge. Over the course of the next year as the legal battle waged, his image and name were decimated in the media. His rise from High School star, to heir apparent in the NBA, to his icy cool demeanor, all compounded with this crime resulted in huge fall from the top.

The charges were eventually dropped by prosecutors after the accuser refused to testify. Bryant admitted that he had an adulterous encounter, but denied the rape allegations. Yet, he did apologize publicly:

Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.

I am not here to exonerate or even apologize for Bryant, his actions, or his days since. This is simply to say, that there has always been something about this story that made me wonder how he got through it, how he had some of his best years AFTER the fact. Many sports stars will enter a storm, come out ok on the immediate other side, but languish soon after. Kobe more or less did the opposite, but for some teammate and injury problems.

But all that said, more than a decade later he mentions his faith, specifically his CATHOLIC faith. He could have referenced God, and leave out the Church, especially knowing how it is viewed in professional sports and the media world. But he didn’t…

I am not here to re-try, or litigate his case. I am here simply to say that it is impressive, only in-and-of-itself, that Bryant trumpets his Catholic faith as what he leaned on during his darkest days.

Manti Te’o, Notre Dame, & The Hoax

imagesI took down my original post… there are too many facts, corrections, new facts, and all sorts of developments that are continuing to come out, and change every half-hour or so. I don’t think it is fair to keep the original post up, as it was based on the initial report. I am still of the mind that those involved in this story might have some culpability, but to what degree may be impossible to tell. If you want to read the reports, the best places seem to be Deadspin and ESPN.

The whole story is just insane. Every hour or so new information comes out and it gets stranger and stranger. (The weirdest being that an NFL Fullback is now claiming to have met the alleged girl before Te’o allegedly dated her, and asserts that she is a real person.) I think that once the dust settles there will be a lot of lessons learned, and a lot of lives changed. I just pray that the Te’o famil, Notre Dame, and whatever NFL team drafts Manti Te’o, will in the end be smarter and stronger from all of this.

There will probably be a lot more coming out in the next few days and weeks. It is hard to think that we have seen the end of this story, and it is hard to really know if we will ever know the 100% truth. As I said above, every few hours something new is revealed and the entire story changes once again.

The biggest lesson here is, ‘Don’t lie.’ Lying is harmful. Even the little white, “no one will get hurt” lies.

 

PTI: Hockey Strike – Ryan Miller

Occasionally I will post about something that isn’t really at all related to much of what this blog was created for. It will usually be something to do with hunting, trapping, sports, or ‘Doctor Who’. PTI stands for ‘Pardon the interruption.’

This one is about the Hockey Lockout/Strike. It is a statement from Ryan Miller, goalie for the Buffalo Sabres. He hits the nail on the head:

“In my mind, it always had to be January in Gary Bettman’s mind,” Miller said. “Obviously, he had something in his head and he was going to see how far he could take it. So there’s really no going up against Gary, when he has something in his head.”

I said this all along, and feel that fans should recognize it, and accept this as truth if nothing else. Gary Bettman is a problem for the NHL. He always has been, and always will be… unless the league undid everything he ever did. Even then, it wouldn’t be enough.

I guess at this point I am just glad to have hockey back.