The good and the bad. We have given each other all that we have.
January 26, 2020 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Kobe Bryant, former NBA Star, has died in a helicopter crash.

Just yesterday, when Lebron James moved past him into #2 all time in career points, Lebron had some reflections on Kobe's career and importance to the sport. At the same time, many fan will never be able to shake the memory of his sexual assault charge from 2003.

From 2015: Dear Basketball
posted by Potomac Avenue (188 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow.
posted by Windopaene at 12:08 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


I first saw "TMZ reports..." and hoped it wasn't true, but looks like ESPN and others are confirming.

A .. for his wife and kids. But we also can't ignore the assualt.
posted by CostcoCultist at 12:11 PM on January 26 [5 favorites]


Sorry, mistake in the post -- Lebron has moved into #3 on the all time scoring list.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:12 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


I'm an Angeleno, so I'm surrounded by Kobe fans. But yeah, to me he's just a guy who was very good at his sport but also raped a 19yo maid.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:17 PM on January 26 [36 favorites]


He was one of the greatest basketball players of all time, unquestionably the best of his generation. And much, much less good at being human.

But 41 is too early.

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posted by Etrigan at 12:17 PM on January 26 [8 favorites]


His sexual assault charge is always the first thing that comes to my mind when someone mentions his name, but holy God, I was not expecting to be as affected by this news as I am. I just can't believe it.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 12:18 PM on January 26 [12 favorites]


ESPN is reporting that former Laker great Rick Fox was also killed in the crash.
posted by mightygodking at 12:25 PM on January 26


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posted by parmanparman at 12:25 PM on January 26


🏀
posted by carmicha at 12:28 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


Helicopters are pretty damned dangerous and using them as a daily commuter option really just ramps up the likelihood of something awful happening. Like many others I wasn't particularly fond of the guy off the court but it was similarly unexpectedly shocking to hear.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:29 PM on January 26 [11 favorites]


I first saw "TMZ reports..." and hoped it wasn't true

TMZ has been ahead of the curve in legit scoops for over a decade now.

. for his family and . for his victim. None for him.
posted by tzikeh at 12:29 PM on January 26 [8 favorites]


Wikipedia appeared to be briefly down, which is an interesting testament to his fame.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:29 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


I have sympathy for his family. I thought he was a narcissistic prick.

Honestly the last time I thought about Kobe was when I was flabbergasted that an animated short about himself that he paid to have made won an Oscar.
posted by Young Kullervo at 12:30 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]


There seem to be conflicting reports about whether his daughters were with him.
posted by WCityMike at 12:30 PM on January 26


Sorry for him to have his life cut so short, sorry for his family and friends to lose someone they loved and depended on, sorry for the woman he raped who will have to hear him lionized and mourned nationwide and feel left out in the cold again. What a terrifying way to die.
posted by sallybrown at 12:31 PM on January 26 [37 favorites]


I am not seeing any ESPN reporting on Rick Fox. Link?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 12:32 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


"Helicopters are pretty damned dangerous..."

This was a Sikorsky S-76 which has an accident rate of about 3.5 per 100,000 flight hours, about half the rate of turbine helicopters as a whole (1994 Flight Safety org article). The S-76 accident rate has decreased steadily over the last 20 years or so but is still much higher than the overall general aviation accident rate of 0.84 per 100,000 flight hours (down from 1.09 in 2012).
posted by bz at 12:41 PM on January 26 [9 favorites]


We're getting a lot of conflicting reports right now, the only name that has been confirmed has been Kobe Bryant's. It hasn't been a banner day for media reports.
posted by HunterFelt at 12:42 PM on January 26


TMZ says Kobe's representatives have confirmed his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, was in the helicopter.

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posted by WCityMike at 12:46 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]


This NBATV reporter says he's communicated with Rick Fox since the story about the crash broke, so it appears that any reports about him dying are false.
posted by Copronymus at 12:50 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


. for his family and . for his victim. None for him.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_Bryant_sexual_assault_case
posted by the painkiller at 12:52 PM on January 26 [7 favorites]


I'm bracing myself for the endless eulogies and remembrances, which will be sickening for me to hear. This is what rape culture looks like: as long as someone who commits sexual assault is good enough at sports (or any other popular profession), many people just won't care how terrible they were.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 1:00 PM on January 26 [55 favorites]


As a huge basketball fan, this is deeply, profoundly upsetting. Kobe inspired this current generation of NBA players and his death comes as a true shock.

Here's the moment of silence from the Rockets-Nuggets game. I'm not even sure how they're on the court. Tyson Chandler, who played with Kobe, is sitting on the bench in tears, rocking his head.

https://twitter.com/DimeUPROXX/status/1221535977916784651

His 13 year-old daughter, Gianna Marie, was also on board.

https://twitter.com/TheNBACentral/status/1221535255661891585

. . . . .
posted by Ahmad Khani at 1:02 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


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posted by Fizz at 1:02 PM on January 26


This Daily Beast article is a detailed overview of the allegations and Bryant’s own admissions in the case, for those with a hazy memory about it.
posted by sallybrown at 1:02 PM on January 26 [16 favorites]


I have hated Kobe for so long that is a an unquestionable part of my personality.

Some of that was because he was obviously a narcissist and likely a rapist. But some of it was on behalf of Vlade Divac et al and that seems absurdly petty now.

Tragedies like this cause us to evaluate what sports entertainment really means, what value it has for us plebes out here in our small, dark worlds. How many times did something Kobe did in the bright lights of TV make me gasp with wonder and rage and glee, that a human could do such things with their body and concentration to defy physics and logic and statistics. True greatness, especially in a game that formed mostly in the black inner city, true dominance is inspiring, even as perhaps it obscures the fact that it is only in a game where winning is the only thing that matters. Hating someone for being good at a game is admitting that their greatness has transcended the game, a natural byproduct of defeat.

One day, all of us, the haters and the hated, we shall be reunited in Temecula. Let us join hands there, meet as brothers and sisters.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:02 PM on January 26 [10 favorites]


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posted by oneironaut at 1:08 PM on January 26


Frobenius, you’re not wrong, the eulogies are coming, and nearly all of them will gloss over the rape case. I was surprised ESPN even mentioned it (though they did leave out the fact that he paid the victim to essentially drop the case).

The closest I can come to any sort of thing to say about Bryant was that maybe, at his absolute best, he was a poster child for how terrible an idea it was to have a 17 year old enter a major league sport and learn how to be an adult there. I love the nba, and basketball, but I’m not deluded enough to think of pro athletes as heroic anymore.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:08 PM on January 26 [29 favorites]


I'll just say that nobody, but nobody, deserves to die that way, and leave it at that.

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posted by non canadian guy at 1:08 PM on January 26 [21 favorites]


How many times did something Kobe did in the bright lights of TV make me gasp with wonder and rage and glee, that a human could do such things with their body and concentration to defy physics and logic and statistics.

Like elbowing Mike Bibby in the face in the 2002 Western Conference Finals and Bibby getting called for a personal foul.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:13 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]


He was a human being, he's dead, that's sad even though he doesn't deserve to be anyone's hero and I expect the media coverage to be infuriating. It's obviously tragic for his family, especially if the report about his young daughter is true. And for everyone else aboard the helicopter and their loved ones, who will be lost in the media circus.
posted by praemunire at 1:15 PM on January 26 [15 favorites]






This Daily Beast article is a detailed overview of the allegations and Bryant’s own admissions in the case, for those with a hazy memory about it.

I'd forgotten how bad that was. I hope it is included as part of the eulogies and remembrances, not just his achievements.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:28 PM on January 26 [5 favorites]


I mean I just assumed they were linking to the Wikipedia article so people could read it...
posted by Going To Maine at 1:34 PM on January 26 [7 favorites]


[Folks, this is one of those obits where people are going to have a range of feelings and we really, really need to not be policing other people's feelings. We're not going to delete negative comments, and we also aren't going to judge people for remembering the non-rapey things Bryant did, too. Please give each other space. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:36 PM on January 26 [45 favorites]


I feel deep sympathy for his 13 year old daughter that just lost her life on the way to a basketball game, for all of her team mates, for her mother and for her two other sisters, one whom is 6 months and will have this shadow the rest of her life. But this is no different than any of the other hundreds of thousands who die each year in car accidents globally. It's not more sad or more tragic.

I also feel deep sympathy for the millions of rape survivors who will have to be reminded that their assault means less to society than a televised sporting event. It means less to society than any temporary disgrace a man would face. It means less to society than a man's right to be a millionaire. That men having access to and raping women is more important than a woman's right to be safe.
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:37 PM on January 26 [99 favorites]


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posted by cashman at 1:45 PM on January 26



Some people need a reminder that it’s allowed to have several emotions at once. Life is multi-layered and rarely black & white. But having tact during tragedies is really basic manners.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 4:37 PM on January 26 [3 favorites +] [!]


What's actually tactless in this situation is the media idolizing a man without acknowledging his flaws, at the expense of the women in his life. What's tactless is seeing women express pain about how men get away with brutalizing us, and in return asking them to be tactful.
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:46 PM on January 26 [67 favorites]


Based on how we gloss over famous people's bad deeds when they die I think Shakespeare might've gotten this backwards:
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:52 PM on January 26 [10 favorites]


It is fairly standard that when a well-known public figure dies, both the highs and the lows of their life are discussed. I would not expect people to consider it rude to talk about Martha Stewart’s prison term, just like I didn’t consider it bad manners for news reports to reference the charges of pedophilia against Michael Jackson when he died suddenly and young like Kobe. Or maybe the idea of rape charges as rude to mention relate to the fact that some people treat rape as tawdry the way that they treat sex as tawdry, considering it poor taste to reference in polite conversation, or somehow dirty and X-rated and titillating. That kind of attitude can’t be more wrong.

Based on the official record, including medical evidence, there is a strong case that Kobe raped a woman and avoided any criminal penalty for doing so. It’s the very first thing many of us think of when we hear his name. It’s a part of who he was and what his legacy as a famous figure will be.

If you’re angry that people mention rape when discussing Kobe’s death, be angry at Kobe.
posted by sallybrown at 1:57 PM on January 26 [83 favorites]


Trae Young, who along with Luka Doncic is top 2 of the players drafted last year, posted about GiGi (Kobe's daughter, who died in the crash) telling Trae he's her favorite player.
This S*** can’t be real... this the first moment I was able to meet Gianna Maria Bryant, she’s been to only 3 games this year... 2 of them were mine... She told me I was her favorite player to watch🙏🏽❤️ I can’t believe this😢😭 Rest Easy Gigi

They showed Trae finishing warming up for a game he's playing against the Washington Wizards in 40 minutes, and he went and hugged his mom and another family member. Just so sad.
posted by cashman at 2:20 PM on January 26 [6 favorites]


My childhood hero (Kirby Puckett) also died young, and despite being an incredible athlete he was not a very good person. You know what? It still hurt. I understand that he was a jerk and he mistreated women but it still hurt when he died. Kobe Bryant has a lot of fans - adults, kids - who know that he had some serious flaws. I'd like to tell them that it's okay to be sad and mourn his loss. Kobe's death (like Kirby's death) is more than that of just one ballplayer,. For some folks it's the end of childhood fandom, or that one thing you and your dad could talk about, and it's okay to be sad.
posted by Gray Duck at 2:21 PM on January 26 [19 favorites]


I am sorry to hear about his daughter.

Just recently I was thinking how many works of entertainment have been ruined for me because their creator is /was a questionable person, from Michael Jackson to Linda Fairstein to Polanski.

And yet some of the same people who would condemn anyone for listening/ reading /watching their works are in my Twitter feed mourning this man without any nuance.

I confronted via Twitter DM a political activist who'd expressed sadness, and we had an interesting convo over this. Eventually they made this comment:

"I think celebrities are just fictions for most people. They are ideas that the public holds onto and wants to believe are true. The public would rather deny an accuser than ruin that fiction."

So many issues here: double standards, how women still aren't believed, the insane deification of celebrities, especially athletes and actors. And yes, I've been guilty of wanting to turn a blind eye and deaf ear when it came to someone famous whose work had affected me in some way.

But I'll never forget finding the accuser credible, nor his fans threatening her. Or a younger female colleague so eager to blame the woman for being in that situation, and defend the famous man who probably had women taking advantage of him.
posted by NorthernLite at 2:27 PM on January 26 [18 favorites]


Is game
family more than game

-Janos
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:31 PM on January 26


Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli dies in helicopter crash with Kobe Bryant

Also the Fire Department and Sheriff had a news conference, wouldn't confirm any identities of anyone, but said they believe 9 people died in the crash. Awful.
posted by cashman at 2:44 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, the news briefing just reported that there were 8 people in addition to the pilot that were on board and all died. As is appropriate they did not mention any identities pending confirmation by the coroner and notification of next of kin.
posted by TedW at 2:44 PM on January 26


But this is no different than any of the other hundreds of thousands who die each year in car accidents globally. It's not more sad or more tragic.

I have a hard time with this idea. I'm sympathetic to the idea that his death is less tragic because of his infidelity and sexual assault or that it's more tragic because he left behind a family and was an inspiration to millions. Or that it's complicated to say one way or another. But it doesn't feel like just another traffic death because part of the reason it happened is because Kobe was so larger than life (and simultaneously rich and narcissistic) that he had a private helicopter and was literally above normal people stuff like traffic. Kobe was modern day royalty in some circles.

Perhaps ideally his death shouldn't mean more than any other and we should stop lionizing athletes and celebrities but we don't live in that world. We live in the one where his death meant enough to prompt a wide public outpouring of grief in addition to public comments from current and former presidents.
posted by Percolate at 2:56 PM on January 26 [8 favorites]


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posted by bshort at 3:01 PM on January 26


It's not more sad or more tragic.

I find people say this when the person who has died is not important to the person saying it. If your hero dies unexpectedly, the first thing you write is unlikely to be "Well, people die every day." Our hearts just don't work like that.
posted by gwint at 3:06 PM on January 26 [15 favorites]


But having tact during tragedies is really basic manners.

In the words of the indomitable Cordelia Chase, "Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass."
posted by Mavri at 3:19 PM on January 26 [23 favorites]


. . . . . . . . .
posted by Chuffy at 3:28 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]




i didn't like him once at the time. didn't like jordan either. i don't like lebron. but i'm truly sad. very sorry
posted by avi111 at 3:36 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


In memory of Kobe, both the Raptors and Spurs ran out the 24 second shot clock to open the game.

Celtics & Pelicans just did this as well. Looks like Hawks and Wizards did as well, but they did it differently. The Hawks didn't bring the ball over half court after the tip, and got an 8-second violation. Then the Wizards got a 24 second violation.
posted by cashman at 3:38 PM on January 26 [5 favorites]


Barack Obama
@BarackObama
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.
1:56 PM · Jan 26, 2020·Twitter for iPhone
posted by Ahmad Khani at 3:44 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


What a terrifying way to die. His poor kid.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 3:50 PM on January 26 [15 favorites]


What a terrifying way to die. His poor kid.

It really is terrible. I was thinking about it in the shower. I had actually been playing basketball when I learned the news, and everyone was hoping somehow it wasn't true. Then a few games later, we learned it really was. After I got home & showered, and thought about their last moments, I was reminded of Left Eye's last moments, caught on video, and how terrifying it had to have been. Just awful.
posted by cashman at 3:55 PM on January 26 [8 favorites]


I find myself wondering now about what the stats are for mortality rates of privately own air travel. It sure seems like a lot of famous and/or wealthy people die in small plane and helicopter crashes.
posted by srboisvert at 3:59 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


I'm no expert, but my hunch is that it might not make sense to lump helicopter and small plane crashes together. With small planes, the owner tends to be the pilot. (See: doctor killer.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:07 PM on January 26 [5 favorites]


Slate estimated that civilian copter travel is 27 times more dangerous than driving (CW: Chris Christie) while noting that personal helicopters crash 18 times more often than commercial helicopter taxis.

Also: HELICOPTER ACCIDENTS: Statistics, Trends and Causes
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:17 PM on January 26 [5 favorites]


Kobe on his daughter Gianna: “The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans come up to me, and she'll be standing next to me. They’ll be like “you gotta have a boy, have somebody carry on the legacy... she’s like, “oh, I got this!” And Kobe said "yes you do!"

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Kobe Bryant:
The WNBA mourns the sudden and tragic loss of NBA Great Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. Kobe's support for the WNBA and women's basketball along with his passion for helping young girls and boys follow their dreams made him a true legend for our sport. We admired him not just as a legendary basketball player, but as a father, a youth coach, and a role model for future generations of athletes. On behalf of the WNBA, it is an incredibly sad day for all of us and we send our deepest condolences to his family and all those who mourn his passing."
Gianna's death is awful. Just a 13 year old dying is terrible period. She was also the child of a famous athlete and really seemed to love basketball. There's a video of her and him playing together and she gets the ball and jab steps and uses her shoulder to back him up, then hits a jumper. She looks like she's 9 in the video. Grown adults I play with don't even utilize that like they should. She was probably learning every basketball tool there is, and she really seemed to be loving it. It's relevant because Michael Jordan's sons tried to play, and you can guess how it worked out trying to follow in the footsteps of your legendary father. Now for the past year or so with the retirement of Dwyane Wade (who's son Zaire plays), Lebron James' son Bronny has been getting a lot of coverage playing basketball though he is only in the 9th grade. People have speculated Lebron (35 years old, probably could play another 5 years) wants to play alongside his son in the NBA. To the point where after a game last week, a reporter actually asked him about it. Point being, I'm sure the WNBA was anxiously watching the development of Gianna's game, because so much of the game is mental (I can outplay a lot of guys just by doing the right thing at the right time or being in the right place at the right time) that Gianna likely would have entered the WNBA as skilled as any rookie that has come in. It's a terrible loss.
posted by cashman at 4:22 PM on January 26 [26 favorites]


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posted by Lyme Drop at 4:31 PM on January 26


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posted by ahimsakid at 4:33 PM on January 26


I feel sympathy for the families of the seven other people who died in that crash.

For the rest of their lives, they'll have to deal, not only with the loss of their loved ones, but also with having to talk about Kobe Bryant every time their loved ones' deaths come up in conversation.
posted by gurple at 4:41 PM on January 26 [26 favorites]


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posted by allthinky at 4:47 PM on January 26


I'm no expert, but my hunch is that it might not make sense to lump helicopter and small plane crashes together. With small planes, the owner tends to be the pilot. (See: doctor killer.)

When I heard the news I thought of Roy Halladay but yeah, he was flying that plane. Actually I have a sense that a number of pro athletes have died in small aircraft crashes as pilot or passenger but I suppose it's not that surprising as they are more likely to be taking private flights than most people - same reason it's happened to a number of famous musicians.
posted by atoxyl at 4:54 PM on January 26


Bryant was hardly a personal hero of mine - even as a player he was a rival team's star - but watching guys who played with him or players who grew up watching him respond to this is pretty affecting.
posted by atoxyl at 4:57 PM on January 26


It's not more sad or more tragic.

As others have said, this ignores that basketball, in ways other sports struggle to match, inspires hero worship. Every NBA game is an exhibition of dozens of the top players in the world, each with their own idiosyncrasies that fans watch, analyze, and emulate. From Iverson’s crossover to Jordan’s tongue (and the Be Like Mike campaign) to Richard Hamilton dribbling twice in front, then once to the side before every free throw, countless players mimic these things, learn them well enough to do them without thinking, make them a part of their own game. Fans dream of someday being on the same stage* as their heroes. For sports fans, players for their team, for good or for ill, occupy a place in their fans’ lives that is more, much more than just a random person dying in an accident.

As for the “for ill”, Bryant captures that perfectly, in that his despicable actions are excused by so many of his fans, that they go further and attack the victim, and anyone who even brings it up as a topic.

I never liked the guy, and pretty much always hated the lakers, but I can’t say I don’t understand, having been a die-hard fan of Derek Rose. We want our heroes to be super human, and some people can’t accept when their heroes are shown to be terrible people. I don’t, in any way, excuse his actions, or the actions of fans who refuse to grapple with their blind fandom. But to hand wave away his death as “just one of thousands” each day is callous, and ignores the very real feelings of people who saw Bryant as some sort of aspirational figure.

*As far as the stage thing, the Lakers were one of, if not the first to turn down the lights in the arena during games, giving the court and the players on it a much more dramatic appearance, literally making the game appear as if it was being played on a stage in a darkened theater.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:04 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]




Here's a lovely tribute to Gigi Bryant.

Amazing! And the commentary for the last 10-second video is true:
"In the span of about three seconds, she crosses up her defender, picks up her dribble with her back to basket, fakes over her right shoulder, spins to the baseline, and swishes a fadeaway jumper. It’s a move that few players of any age could execute. Gigi Bryant, age 13, had already mastered it."
I hadn't seen it before just now. I watched it 3 times. What the author of the Slate article missed in this lovely tribute page, is that the "crosses up her defender" part? Gigi pulled a freaking SHAMMGOD. A 13-year old! Pulled a Shammgod! A thirteen year old pulled a damn Shammgod and then did a fadeaway jumper and made it.

I can't do that now. I've been playing basketball since the 80's. I've played full court games in 10 different states. In tournaments and in league games. I have a diary of places I've played, that I've had since I was a teenager. I've seen exactly 1 person do that move in real life, it was around 2015, and he got nowhere with it (I was guarding him).

2 people in the NBA do this move, popularized by God Shammgod, with any regularity. Chris "CP3" Paul, and Russell Westbrook. You're dribbling the ball with one hand, going one direction, then in one motion you push the ball down with one hand and jerk your body as if you're taking off that way, but you take your other hand and pull the ball the opposite direction and go the other way.

This involves having a credible dribble with both hands (which excludes a lot of people - like try to write in cursive with your non-dominant hand and see how that feels), and a good amount of body control because it's such an unnatural thing to do with the ball. Which is why it's so uncommonly pulled off.

And Gianna did it at age 13 in a game. The defender stayed with her anyway, and Gianna then hit a fadeaway jump shot. Literally incredible. Like I'm beside myself right now. What a tragic loss. I had no idea she was that good. At age 13!
posted by cashman at 5:30 PM on January 26 [45 favorites]


. . . . . . . . .
posted by a device for making your enemy change his mind at 5:36 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


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posted by chaz at 5:42 PM on January 26


There's been some reporting on some of the other victims. John Altobelli, a baseball coach at Orange Coast College, his wife Keri, and their daughter Alyssa were also on the helicopter. Alyssa played basketball with Gianna, which is presumably why they were taking the helicopter together.
posted by Copronymus at 5:53 PM on January 26 [5 favorites]


More than anything this is just so goddamn arbitrary. It’s gut wrenching how little the universe cares for our tiny narratives.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:55 PM on January 26 [21 favorites]


As a Laker fan since the Jerry West/Wilt Chamberlain era (who got the autograph of Harold 'Happy' Hairston, that team's most underrated player, but the competition those days was overwhelming), I always doubted Kobe, for his way-too-soon ascent to the NBA, and was unsurprised when he got into trouble (and he was damned lucky his offense predated the #MeToo era). And I was just starting to seriously gain respect for him recently. It is a terrible mix of irony and generationally-distributed karma that his talented daughter would die so young.

But I know how dangerous copters can be. In 1977, during my 'radio days', I got to meet Francis Gary Powers, the U2 spyplane pilot who survived being shot down over Russia, and was generally condemned - for surviving. Then later that same year, he was killed in a copter crash and I had to break the news to some of his former broadcast co-workers.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:08 PM on January 26 [7 favorites]


Honestly the last time I thought about Kobe was when I was flabbergasted that an animated short about himself that he paid to have made won an Oscar.

Kobe was the FIRST African American person to have won an Oscar for animated short film. In 2018. They’d given the award 89 times, since 1932 before an African American person won. The fact is the #OscarsSoWhite cycle of this category is so entrenched, it took someone with that much money, and fame to break that barrier.

Monica Beletsky just wrote on Twitter about how most stuff that’s green lit by Women/POC is autobiographical. It’s something I’ve found very true as a WOC writer. We’re not allowed to dream outside of our “experience” and it’s through the lens of whatever “-ism” trauma we’ve experienced that we’re encouraged to write. It’s bullshit. And it feels like the only way to break in.

That’s not to say we should idolize him. But the win was significant.
posted by Pretty Good Talker at 6:14 PM on January 26 [28 favorites]


Not a big Kobe fan. MJ was my guy. Lived in Chicago during the 80s. Actually, Walt Frazieer, Earl Monroe, Dave DeBushire, Bill Bradley and Willis Reed were my guys, but I digress. The thoughts that come to mind when I hear/heard Kobe Bryant was the rape, Jelly Bean Bryant's son, and that he did not pass the rock. It is undisputed that he was a great basketball player. Top 5? 10? of all time. I did not know how he had touched so many players, coaches, and fans. Hearing so much about his 13 yo, I am wondering how his relationship was with his 17 yo who was not the basketball player/lover of the sport.

It sounds like, listening to all the accolades that he spent a lot of time trying to atone for his sin. I know you cannot undo what he did and his victim is still living with it and will always have to live with it, but I guess the bigger question is can a person ever overcome a heinous decision in their 20s? While I do not think the act should ever be marginalized or minimized, I do think that once a criminal always a criminal is not a hard and fast rule. It would be a pretty cynical society if we did not believe in rehabilitation.

While I do not think sexual assault should ever be forgotten as part of his legacy, I do not think it inappropriate to recognize good that he did. Like it or not, sports stars have a big influence on the youth. His peers respected his accomplishments on the court. Reporters have all been talking about his personal side, his curiosity, his speaking multiple languages, etc. It sounds like he was a good father to his daughters. Like all humans he was flawed I am sure. My problem with the reporting on his death is that they are in most cases ignoring the sexual assault, not that they are reporting the good.

I am proud to say that I asked my 23yo son about his thoughts on Kobe and he laughed and said one word, "Rapist".I would have been very concerned and saddened if his generation was not very aware of the assault.

Maybe it is more complicated than good or bad, black or white, or binary. Regardless, may all 9 souls on board rest in peace.

.........
posted by AugustWest at 6:39 PM on January 26 [21 favorites]


With respect to the high tensions- when this story was first reported, it was incorrectly stated that his children were not on the copter with him. I have no doubt if the story had been correct from the jump the commenting would also have been different. I can’t say I don’t understand both sides to this- but maybe we can all cool it and grieve both the girl who will never grow up, the family whose lost a father, and the woman who was attacked and was lost in the legacy of a famous sports star. And the other people who died with Kobe and Gigi.

.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:42 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Kobe Bryant was an admitted rapist. "I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter." She had bruising on her neck and vaginal tearing. His shirt had her blood on it.

Her treatment in the press was so horrific that Colorado changed its rape shield laws in the aftermath to better protect victims.

I am sorry two children died. Their surviving friends and families will be destroyed with grief. I'm sorry for the pilot and the rest of the passengers.

And I'm immeasurably sad for the woman who will spend the next month listening to fans and media and Barak Obama go on about what a great man her rapist was.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:44 PM on January 26 [46 favorites]


[A few comments removed. The death of a high-visibility problematic figure is always going to be complicated and both the suddenness of this news and the additional shock and awfulness of his daughter's death and that of the other passengers complicate that all as well. There is going to be no good way to separate quickly and cleanly the intersecting threads of Bryant's fame and cultural impact from his history and from the awfulness of this accident and the other lives lost, and I think the best we can hope to do in here is recognize that that's complicated and not try to force the idea that any of that complexity can be erased for the sake of one or another single perspective. Folks are gonna feel a lot of ways about a lot of things here, and talking about all of those together is okay. We just need to find a way to not make it a fight about which one thing people can talk about or putting words or motives in other people's mouths for being in a different part of that complicated space.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:50 PM on January 26 [16 favorites]


If one's hero is a rapist, maybe they should look at how to chose a hero more closely instead of arguing with people that Now Is Not The Time. (This is not directed at anyone here.)

I am very sorry for Gigi Bryant, and for everyone else in the helicopter, and for their families who must be entirely distraught.
posted by jeather at 6:53 PM on January 26 [20 favorites]


I’m not sure why anyone is equating the refusal to ignore the fact that he raped someone with celebrating his death or “winning” in any way. It’s horrible that he died. His work was inspirational to many and he sounds, by all accounts, like a great father. He was also a rapist. Refusal to believe that people who accomplish great things and have loving friends and family can also be rapists is part of the reason why rape is still not taken seriously as a crime and successfully prosecuted.
posted by sallybrown at 6:53 PM on January 26 [67 favorites]


I never was much into basketball myself, but when you move to LA at the tail end of the lakers' championship streak, and you work with people who grew up idolizing the team and this player in particular, it really becomes part of a culture. It was one of my co-workers who taught me to invoke Kobe's name when throwing paper wads in a trash can, for example.

I was in a general aviation aircraft on 3-mile final approach when I heard, which might be the worst place to hear such news. I think I might have been able to keep a tight grip on my emotions if I had been pilot in command in order to land safely. I was surprised by the depth of my reaction.

It wasn't my childhood, just that of my cohort.

It wasn't my team, just that of my adopted city.

It wasn't my favorite mode of transport, just the one my boyfriend wants to get licensed for.

And alongside all of that, tinging those emotions with guilt and shame, it wasn't my trauma that will be overshadowed.
posted by rubah at 6:56 PM on January 26 [8 favorites]


(who the hell says "kobe bryant just died in a helicopter crash" when you're in a small airplane in the process of landing?!)
posted by rubah at 6:58 PM on January 26 [19 favorites]


.........
posted by tonycpsu at 6:59 PM on January 26


.........

I can’t even imagine how Vanessa Bryant and their three other daughters are feeling tonight. Or the two surviving Altobelli children, who lost both parents and their sister in the crash. It’s so heartbreaking.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:18 PM on January 26 [16 favorites]


Every time I ever got on a plane, I'd look around for any celebrities among the passengers. Because it really does suck to be a footnote in a tragedy that kills somebody famous.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:13 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]


the non-rapey things Bryant did, too

if you can't bring yourself to type the words "rape" or "rapist," best to say nothing about it at all. He was a confessed rapist who, yes, certainly did do a number of other things too. we can save the cutesy minimization language for another time. maybe we can save it for never.

It's a terrible thing for his family, and we don't have to pretend him into a good man for that to be true.

I was too old when his crime was news to be as affected by it as I was, but this is the truth: his rape was the third of the three major news items that formed my character and political opinions as I was becoming an adult (the first two were the treatment of Monica Lewinsky and the testimony of Anita Hill.) There is no overstating how horrible it was and how unforgettable, if you were alive at the time, it was to hear him confess and sort of grotesquely apologize and have nobody care.

is The Discourse going to be just like this when Polanski dies? almost certainly yes.
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:11 PM on January 26 [27 favorites]


Juan Browne already has a video up talking about the crash - he's a 777 pilot and does a lot of videos on aviation crashes, and he has done a lot on the 737 MAX crisis as well.

I have art / artist thoughts on Kobe but I think this thread has already exhausted the topic.
posted by MillMan at 9:13 PM on January 26


I don't know that I have anything new to add to a discussion on the death of Kobe Bryant but I just saw where my hometown library posted an RIP of sorts on Instagram and just thought - you've got to be kidding me! There's the tragedy of his death to his family, him being a rapist, him being top five all time NBA and now he is arguably the most profound internet Era celebrity death so far, a ubiquitous face on social media, award winner, guy who seems savvy about media use. I tried to watch an interview with him and Matt Barnes this week - but you know everything that people who have done something great say doesn't need to be recorded.
The last NBA game I remember getting excited about was when the Sixers beat the Lakers in game one of the finals.
posted by PHINC at 9:51 PM on January 26


This reminds me so much of Colin McRae's death. The same sense of unreality.

I was no fan of Kobe but whatever else he was, he was very close to his kids, especially his oldest daughter. He coached her team, shot down any suggestions she couldn't be his legacy becuase she was female, was a big supporter or the WNBA and believed women could play in the NBA. That they both died on the way to a practice is just tragic. It could have been any sports mad kid and their parent. I hope it was fast and they didn't see it coming.
posted by fshgrl at 10:02 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]


I just heard the song from his Academy Award winning short, Dear Basketball, composed by John Williams, featuring Kobe's poetry.
posted by Brian B. at 10:44 PM on January 26


i wasn't a sports fan growing up, and didn't play sports as a kid. but i became a lakers die-hard in 2000 (and still am) watching those title runs at a sports bar near ucla when i was in college. i started playing basketball, and it started a lifelong love of the game. up until i saw kobe, i was firmly in the "you're amused by grown men putting balls in baskets??" camp. but not after.

his game helped me understand why people care about sports at all--the way it is a metaphor for life. the practice.
the wall you hit. the way you can break through it, or not. the failure and the redemption. i'm reminded of the apocryphal (maybe?) alan watts lecture about how the game of chess was designed by ancient peoples as an oversimplified metaphor for all the moves a person can make in life. each basketball game is like that--a million ways you can fuck up, and a few ways to succeed. kevin durant said on a podcast once something really smart along these lines (me heavily paraphrasing): 'basketball is designed to make you look stupid.'

i'm a victims' advocate. i'm a prosecutor. when women say they've been assaulted, i absolutely presume they are telling the truth, and i presume the woman in kobe's case was too. if the prosecution in that matter was derailed, then it was an injustice. i hope whatever settlement they reached in the civil case brought some sort of resolution to her, and if it didn't, then that too was unjust.

kobe's career accomplishments, apart from his personal actions, brought hope and were a beacon to millions. he was ridiculously gifted by birth, but his real accomplishment was his work ethic, his dedication to competence and expertise and excellence. the idea that if you work nonstop, you can become expert in a thing. that idea is an honorable one, and he embodied it.

rest in peace.
.
posted by wibari at 10:49 PM on January 26 [11 favorites]




Helicopters are pretty damned dangerous and using them as a daily commuter option really just ramps up the likelihood of something awful happening.

Here is the death index (with airlines as the baseline, the death index is the number of times more likely you are to die) for various forms of transport:
1.000 - Airlines
20.00 - Intercity Rail (Amtrak)
34.30 - Scheduled Charter Flights
49.80 - Mass Transit (rail and bus)
59.50 - Non-scheduled charter flights
63.00 - Non-scheduled helicopter flights
271.7 - General Aviation (like private planes)
453.6 - Driving or riding in a car/SUV

via: Are helicopters safe? How they stack up against planes, cars and trains
posted by fairmettle at 12:13 AM on January 27 [7 favorites]


Grammys ceremony opens with tribute to Kobe Bryant -- Lizzo, Alicia Keys, etc.
posted by pracowity at 12:39 AM on January 27


Here is the death index

Yes, but that would be aggregate of trips, right? So the more often you’re in that bracket between unscheduled and GA that I assume Bryant fell under the more chances there are to get dinged, especially if it’s as often as people drive. Doesn’t seem like a linear comparison would work. Anyway. His daughter must’ve spent hundreds of hours in choppers by then, riding in them even during pregnancy.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:56 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


This helicopter pilot has already made a pretty good analysis of what happened, likely that the helicopter made a “scud run” in attempt to run through the bad visibility.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:26 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]




Kobe was the FIRST African American person to have won an Oscar for animated short film. In 2018. They’d given the award 89 times, since 1932 before an African American person won. The fact is the #OscarsSoWhite cycle of this category is so entrenched, it took someone with that much money, and fame to break that barrier.

Monica Beletsky just wrote on Twitter about how most stuff that’s green lit by Women/POC is autobiographical. It’s something I’ve found very true as a WOC writer. We’re not allowed to dream outside of our “experience” and it’s through the lens of whatever “-ism” trauma we’ve experienced that we’re encouraged to write. It’s bullshit. And it feels like the only way to break in.

That’s not to say we should idolize him. But the win was significant.


I agree, just wish it had been, you know, one of the hundreds if not thousand of other non-rapist animators that broke that barrier.
posted by Young Kullervo at 5:43 AM on January 27 [15 favorites]


It sounds like the weather conditions weren't really suitable for flying. I wonder if, like in the Aaliyah accident, the pilot probably should have grounded the flight but didn't want to contradict such a huge celebrity's wishes?
posted by TwoStride at 5:44 AM on January 27 [5 favorites]


There is no overstating how horrible it was and how unforgettable, if you were alive at the time, it was to hear him confess and sort of grotesquely apologize and have nobody care.

...and, twenty years later, nothing caps off that horror like hearing a "victim's advocate" go on about presuming the victim was telling the truth, with garlands of Ifs and I Hopes, as if golly gosh there's just no way to know, no historical record or anything, and all we can do is make an educated guess following our principles.

HE APOLOGIZED AND ACKNOWLEDGED IT, after he was safe from consequence. If you don't know enough about the case to know that your generous presumptions are not needed, your comments do more harm than good. Our belief in what the victim said is not a favor we do her out of our great and deep prosecutors' hearts; it is not an act of mysterious faith; it is only the required result of paying attention.

This is relevant to absolutely everything else we remember about him, because nothing he accomplished in his life after 2003 could have happened if we did not live in a society that takes rape casually and lightly and thinks it in bad taste to hold our memory of a man's rape against him. Listing out his accomplishments as if they balance in some moral scale against his rape is deeply misguided when it is not deliberately dishonest, because they are not unconnected to it and they absolutely rely on the public's willingness to not care about rape. That contempt for rape victims and disregard for rape as a real crime and eagerness to forget were the necessary foundation on which every good thing he ever did was built.

When Brock Turner and William Kennedy Smith die, talk about them this same way. I fucking dare you.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:28 AM on January 27 [44 favorites]


And it's still mostly white people who have insisted on calling Kobe a "rapist," without qualification, despite the outcome of the matter.

The “outcome of the matter” was Kobe settling the civil case and admitting in a public statement that he accepted the victim did not consent. Not sure what you mean by “despite.”

As for race, Bill Clinton, Ben Roethlisberger, and Woody Allen will get the same treatment from me.
posted by sallybrown at 6:34 AM on January 27 [18 favorites]


It's not more sad or more tragic.
As others have said, this ignores that basketball, in ways other sports struggle to match, inspires hero worship.


I'm not ignoring hero worship, I'm very aware of it. I think it shouldn't exist. Me saying his death isn't more tragic is expressing that opinion, not being ill-informed.
posted by FirstMateKate at 6:53 AM on January 27 [3 favorites]


[A couple deleted; this isn't the place for rape apology or making accusations against fellow members who are angry about rape.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:54 AM on January 27 [6 favorites]


A nice piece about Christina Mauser, another victim in the crash. She was a girls’ basketball coach and mother of three.
posted by sallybrown at 6:57 AM on January 27 [12 favorites]


That contempt for rape victims and disregard for rape as a real crime and eagerness to forget were the necessary foundation on which every good thing he ever did was built.

This about sums it up for me.

I am sad for the victims of the crash, especially the children, and their surviving families. I hope they are not hounded by media and I honestly hope this story dies down soon.
posted by captain afab at 7:08 AM on January 27 [12 favorites]


Yes, but that would be aggregate of trips, right? So the more often you’re in that bracket between unscheduled and GA that I assume Bryant fell under the more chances there are to get dinged, especially if it’s as often as people drive.

While that particular list is normalized in a way that obscures the underlying data, the death rates are calculated on a per-mile basis. Driving really is that dangerous, though the figures only count deaths and completely ignore injury, which further obscures the danger of driving relative to other modes of transportation. (And commercial airlines really are that safe)
posted by wierdo at 7:11 AM on January 27


Kobe Bryant’s Helicopter Likely Succumbed to a Well-Known Danger
While the cause of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash has not yet been determined, the weather and terrain conditions were similar to those that have killed many helicopter pilots over the years, with fog and clouds masking rugged, rising terrain. The reconstruction of his flight that follows is based on information from transponder data, air traffic control audio recordings, and my own experience as a pilot who was trained in the exact area where the incident took place.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:12 AM on January 27 [5 favorites]


Not sure what you mean by “despite.”

I meant the whole sentence that I wrote, and specifically about the way this is talked about at large. I certainly do not mean to suggest that this isn't part of Kobe's story or that shouldn't be talked about here. It's just sort of incomplete to talk about it without also at least mentioning the racial complications that have been part of the story the whole time?

I'm struggling to find a way to unpack it delicately, and maybe an obit thread like this isn't the place for a full-on discussion of the bleak intersectional implications of certain popular forms of Kobe-hate as it ties into historical American racial dynamics and our criminal justice system. I have no problem with what people are saying here.

We may all agree here on MeFi that no one should be able to escape social approbation by way of a dropped prosecution and confidential settlement, but there's a racial weirdness that runs through the sentiment when it's expressed with singular enthusiasm by otherwise very conservative, not especially feminist and very white sports-people, and has since the story first broke, which is part of the wider context. I guess you could say it exploits the important and necessary aspects of recognition.

It's likely there will be some better thought-out articles coming out in a bit that we will be able to discuss on their own.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:32 AM on January 27 [6 favorites]


Bess Kalb on Twitter: ATTENTION WHITE WOMEN: Not now.

Aja Barber on Twitter: I want to make it very clear. I think we should live in a world where folks talk about rapists and what they did when they die.

The problem is, y’all reserve that rule for black people and no one else. And we see you. And I see you. And I’m a victim of sexual assault.

posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:41 AM on January 27 [15 favorites]


One of the fucked up things I find about genuinely caring about sexual assault is, when you hold people to account regardless of their race or the race of the victim, which some of us actually do—Kavanaugh or Clarence Thomas or Bill Clinton or Al Franken or Ted Kennedy or Bill Cosby or Russell Simmons or Harvey Weinstein and on and on forever—it’s so easy to see how people who claim to care actually switch it on and off depending on personal preference, or even use it like a stick to hit someone they dislike for political reasons, or because of racism, or because of a sports team. It makes very clear how few people actually give a shit. And given that, at least in my experience, the people most consistent in speaking out against sexual assault are survivors of it, it’s a brutal lesson to have shoved in your face over and over.
posted by sallybrown at 7:50 AM on January 27 [25 favorites]


One thing not brought up in this discussion so far is that, while Kobe escaped criminal conviction, he did not escape accountability to the victim. She was able to make him stand in court and apologize for raping her. Many, many women don’t even get that measure of justice.

By all means, don’t forgive Kobe (I don’t think he earned it) but let’s save a little of that energy around him and direct it into admiration for her. She didn’t let him rape her and throw her aside. She confronted one of the most famously competitive people on the planet - a man who hates to lose more than anything else and she made him admit what he had done.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 7:52 AM on January 27 [36 favorites]


I should elaborate that one complicated aspect of how celebrities get treated in our conversations is that racial filters affect the very things we do or don't know about a person.

For instance, in 2015 there was a whole Metafilter thread about David Bowie and the sexism of some documentary's narration when it dismissed his fandom as "14-20 year old girls". The points people made there were quite good, but... I don't believe a single comment mentioned his sexual relations with girls on the lower end of that range. And I myself had no idea about that stuff... until people mentioned it in conversations about Kobe.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:57 AM on January 27 [8 favorites]


She confronted one of the most famously competitive people on the planet - a man who hates to lose more than anything else and she made him admit what he had done.

And it cost him nothing. Nothing except a 4 million dollar apology ring for his wife, which is twice as much money as his victim saw.

It didn't hurt his standing in the NBA, or with fans, or with sponsors, or with the people literally piling up to lay flowers. This is part of why some of us are so angry. It cost him nothing.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:58 AM on January 27 [14 favorites]


I agree, just wish it had been, you know, one of the hundreds if not thousand of other non-rapist animators that broke that barrier.

Sure, but it wasn't. And this gets at a larger point that I think white Americans should keep in mind - the white majority in this country has spent its entire history trying to stomp down the accomplishments of the black people, most frequently by taking away any opportunity to thrive and reach the heights of success that they deserve. And because of this, there are not nearly as many famous, successful black figures to look up to as there should be. As white folks, we get to pick and choose from an abundance of options of who to idolize, and its not usually that difficult to toss aside public figures who do horrible things.

But black Americans are forced to compartmentalize, to accept that its possible to celebrate the life and accomplishments of even deeply flawed figures. Publicly mourning Kobe Bryant is not inherently a choice to minimize the crime he committed. For a whole lot of people it is a very conscious decision to hold up the positive contributions he was able to make and the inspiration he was able to provide, and say that those things are worth celebrating. And it is meaningful to mourn that loss.

.
posted by parallellines at 8:03 AM on January 27 [20 favorites]


Two Things Can Be True, But One Is Always Mentioned First, by Jeremy Gordon at The Outline.

For my part I never cared much about Kobe just because I'm more of a fan of Philadelphia pro teams than of sports as Sports, so my primary viewing experience with the 2000s Lakers was watching them buzzsaw AI's Sixers in 2001. My primary association with him is "rapist" rather than "heel athlete from the last decade." But it's become incredibly clear over the past 24 hours what a huge influence he was on basketball in general and specifically the generation of players that's now ascendant in the NBA. We're in pretty much the exact moment where Kobe's death would prompt maximum grief and hagiography from the people who set the sport's narrative.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:16 AM on January 27 [7 favorites]


Outside the confines of MeFi, the friends I know who are bringing up the subject of rape re Kobe online are getting chainsawed. I was staggered to see a Good Guy from the alternative theatre scene say that it was "hate speech" and "declassé" to bring up the issue and said he had "lost his faith in humanity." One man I know who brought it up was accused of "pandering for likes" with the women he knows. It's ugly out there.
posted by argybarg at 8:29 AM on January 27 [17 favorites]


It didn't hurt his standing in the NBA, or with fans, or with sponsors, or with the people literally piling up to lay flowers. This is part of why some of us are so angry. It cost him nothing.

I get where you’re coming from. Because wealthy, powerful people get to skate all the time simply because of said wealth and power. And while I disagree that it cost him nothing (he probably paid out $6m+ between ring, settlement and lawyers) the harder truth is it cost nothing of consequence to him, which is even more infuriating. He bought his way out of meaningful consequences.

So, what I come back to is, knowing that a full, true reckoning is impossible, how can we find some justice in this situation? Directing all of our anger at Kobe keeps him at the center and doesn’t diminish his power. What she did was not nothing and I choose to note that truth, because I think that is how we take some of the power back.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 9:02 AM on January 27 [4 favorites]


I want to make it very clear. I think we should live in a world where folks talk about rapists and what they did when they die.

The problem is, y’all reserve that rule for black people and no one else. And we see you. And I see you. And I’m a victim of sexual assault.


Check back in with me when Polanski and Woody Allan die. Try me.
posted by blue suede stockings at 9:37 AM on January 27 [13 favorites]


I'm glad someone brought up that despicable Bess Kalb tweet. That struck me as pandering. "Let's mock all the Karens."

Then there's someone prominent on tennis Twitter, with whom I used to discuss the awful politics of white male American players. She loves Andy Murray for his feminism, and Prince Harry for his recent actions.

I was surprised to see her so shocked and posting multiple times about Bryant yesterday, and I DMd, asking what she'd thought re: the rape case. I discovered later that day, she'd blocked me.

The need to hero worship to the extent you're so griefstruck you're angry at people for even mentioning a serious crime is, well, something. especially when you consider yourself a progressive feminist.

And yes, here again is an intersection of racial and sexual issues. I recall some black co-workers cheering when OJ Simpson was acquitted of double murder. Now, since the 90s, I've had my eyes opened even wider to how inequitable the justice system is for POC. So I understand that's where they were coming from then. But they were merely celebrating someone "getting away with it" because he was rich, and because of the fame the public had allocated to him.

That does nothing to shift the scales for all. And it certainly does nothing for you if you're a woman and the celebrity in question is an abusive man.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:43 AM on January 27 [13 favorites]


I was surprised to see her so shocked and posting multiple times about Bryant yesterday, and I DMd, asking what she'd thought re: the rape case. I discovered later that day, she'd blocked me.

The need to hero worship to the extent you're so griefstruck you're angry at people for even mentioning a serious crime is, well, something. especially when you consider yourself a progressive feminist.


Thinking you can diagnose the full extent and nature of someone's grief from Twitter, disparaging it as illegitimate or somehow too much, and complaining about being blocked when you slide into their DMs to 'well actually' their grief... is not a good look.
posted by inire at 10:05 AM on January 27 [18 favorites]


Flightradar has its analysis up on the flight path and the ADS-B transponder data. At last data point it was closing in on 5000 feet per minute vertical descent (about 55mph) and about 169kts / 195mph ground speed.
The last 15 seconds must have been incredibly scary for the passengers - there are two points when speed and descent rate drop suddenly as the pilot presumably tried to correct the flight (possibly autorotate?). I hope the passengers thought it was just a really bumpy prolonged flight -they'd already been made to do loops over Glendale to give space for other traffic going to Burbank - and didn't know it was happening.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 10:11 AM on January 27 [3 favorites]


For instance, in 2015 there was a whole Metafilter thread about David Bowie and the sexism of some documentary's narration when it dismissed his fandom as "14-20 year old girls". The points people made there were quite good, but... I don't believe a single comment mentioned his sexual relations with girls on the lower end of that range. And I myself had no idea about that stuff... until people mentioned it in conversations about Kobe.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:57 AM on January 27 [3 favorites +] [!]


That was 5 years ago. If you look at the thread earlier this month, it's mentioned. My specific comment calling him a rapist was deleted, however. I think the mods are partially responsible for the "common culture" being called into question in this thread, that it's okay to uphold rape culture and "only black men" get called out. anyway, it's thanks to the women like me, and others in this thread, that are fighting so hard to make sure the truth isn't ever brushed aside, the women that are being told to be quiet for the sake of civility, that things have changed since that thread 5 years ago.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:24 AM on January 27 [10 favorites]


possibly autorotate?

It was a twin engine helicopter.
Power loss is not impossible, but seems pretty unlikely.

The pilot obtained special VFR clearance to skirt weather along the Santa Monica mountains that form the Southern boundary of the San Fernando Valley, by following the freeways through the middle and North side of the Valley (I-5 north to the 118 west). That started under Burbank airport's control, transitioning to Van Nuys airport control and then requesting permission from Van Nuys to turn back to the southwest to follow the 101 Freeway, which is at the base of the mountains. They would then follow the 101 to their destination (an earlier radio call mentioned Camarillo Airport, which is a little inland of Ventura, but I'm not sure if they were landing there or just within the area its ATC governs).

The Van Nuys controller granted permission, and told the pilot to contact the main SoCal ATC for further flight following. The pilot acknowledged that call, and turned towards the 101 and so the foot of the mountains, but then never called SoCal on the radio. SoCal ATC tried to initiate contact, noting that the helicopter was below the minimum altitude for flight following, before it disappeared from the scope.

Thinking about the terrain at that end of the Valley, the pilot would have been approaching Simi Valley along the 118, west of the 405, which itself gets hilly and abuts the mountains at the north end of the valley. So the weather may have been worse in that direction.

From the perspective of a layperson interested in aviation safety culture, it has the hallmarks of chasing clear sky and running out of it, VFR into IMC -- despite the pilot being IFR qualified and experienced.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:34 AM on January 27 [7 favorites]


anyway, it's thanks to the women like me, and others in this thread, that are fighting so hard to make sure the truth isn't ever brushed aside, the women that are being told to be quiet for the sake of civility, that things have changed since that thread 5 years ago.

I think you should take a second to consider the message you're sending by centering white feminism in a thread about the death of a black man.
posted by parallellines at 10:36 AM on January 27 [9 favorites]


How about centering women in a thread about the death of a rapist?

And I say this as someone who wasn't initially thrilled with that framing on this thread, but watching the reactions both here and even more violently on Twitter changed my mind.
posted by tavella at 10:46 AM on January 27 [19 favorites]


I think you should take a second to consider the message you're sending by centering white feminism in a thread about the death of a black man.
posted by parallellines at 1:36 PM on January 27


Ensuring that rapists are not forgotten as rapists, every time, for every person (in this case I'm talking about bowie) is not "white feminism". Black women are also victims of rape. There are women of color in this thread that were victims. This is a straw man.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:48 AM on January 27 [19 favorites]


I should add that if the cause of the accident was indeed weather-related, that doesn't necessarily imply pilot error is the root cause — in a bad situation the best possible reaction may still not be good enough. And instruments can fail too.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:49 AM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Ensuring that rapists are not forgotten as rapists, every time, for every person (in this case I'm talking about bowie) is not "white feminism"

Yes, it is pretty much peak "white feminism" to take time to pat yourself on the back (as in "it's thanks to the women like me...that things have changed since that thread 5 years ago.) when you hear that a hero of the black community died in a tragic accident. And it's gross.
posted by parallellines at 11:01 AM on January 27 [7 favorites]


“Now is not the time” all over today. Washington Post suspended their reporter after she posted a link to rape case.
posted by reiichiroh at 11:16 AM on January 27 [10 favorites]


parallellines, that's an extremely bad-faith reading of my comment. I'm not "taking time to pat myself on the back". Another commenter tried to say that Bowie didn't get the same treatment as Kobe, by citing a thread that's 5 years old, basically using the logic "you were silent 5 years ago you should be silent now". My response was, basically, "that was 5 years ago and we've been fighting the whole time. Don't blame the people sticking up for rape victims for being successfully silenced 5 years ago".
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:24 AM on January 27 [10 favorites]


Kobe Bryant Dead at 41: Remembering Basketball Star’s Legacy On and Off the Court (Democracy Now!)
Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles at the age of 41. The crash killed all nine people on board, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna and beloved college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their 13-year-old daughter Alyssa. They were heading to a youth basketball game. Bryant won five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals and was crowned an All-Star 18 times. He played for the L.A. Lakers for 20 years before retiring in 2016. Gianna Bryant reportedly hoped to one day play for the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team. Tributes continue to pour in on social media from fans, athletes and other public figures. But some are also calling on the media and supporters not to forget a sexual assault allegation from early in his career. We speak with Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation and host of the Edge of Sports podcast, and Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center.
Worth a listen (or read, as the transcript is provided in the link).
posted by Ahmad Khani at 11:30 AM on January 27


Oh, Lord, Aja Romano can stuff it right up her nose. I don't think anyone lives at a level of 100% rigorous consistency and I'm sure you can find a place or two where I lapsed, but I'm pretty much down to talk about rapists being rapists live or dead.
posted by praemunire at 11:31 AM on January 27 [10 favorites]


From the perspective of a layperson interested in aviation safety culture, it has the hallmarks of chasing clear sky and running out of it, VFR into IMC -- despite the pilot being IFR qualified and experienced.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:34 PM on January 27 [3 favorites +] [!]


Thing is, VFR into IMC happens every day without incident or fatalities.

You earn your way into driving an S-76 - it's an extremely capable aircraft and reputed among rotorheads I know to be an excellent IFR platform, particularly if it's a crewed machine. It's not a beginner helicopter and I expect the pilot was quite experienced.

I don' t know this for sure, but it's entirely possible that the General Operations Manual that governs that helo's Operating Certificate does not allow for IFR/IMC operations while single-pilot, or it's prohibited single-pilot without an autopilot. Don't know if this S76 had one, but I'd be surprised if it didn't. If this prohibition and conditions existed then it's possible the pilot was trying to save a bad situation instead of going IFR or, Buddha Forbid, turning around and landing where he had VFR, or returning to base and picking up a crewmember or any other decision he could have made. Won't know for a while.

I spend a lot of time - more than I want to - reading NTSB reports and, in the cases of losing a couple of friends - waiting to read the final NTSB reports on a number of crashes. I'll add this one to the list.
posted by Thistledown at 11:46 AM on January 27 [6 favorites]


There are a couple of other possibilities, too, regarding using SVFR and possible available instrument approaches (or a lack thereof) but it's just way too early to know anything.
posted by Thistledown at 11:50 AM on January 27 [3 favorites]


Ensuring that rapists are not forgotten as rapists, every time, for every person (in this case I'm talking about bowie) is not "white feminism"

Totally.

On the other hand, arguing that a rapist was nothing but a rapist, so as to erase everything else he ever did ("this is no different than any of the other hundreds of thousands who die each year in car accidents globally. It's not more sad or more tragic.")? Implying that anyone who values or recognises the other things he did is somehow wrong, bad and / or upholding rape culture? Appearing to give no shits about the racist dynamics involved in this particular case?

Come on.

You don't have to feel conflicted about him personally, but at least recognise that others do, and leave them the space to do that. You can do that without having to be quiet about his crime or include some ritual acknowledgement of his talent, family, etc. before talking about it.
posted by inire at 11:56 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]


But some are also calling on the media and supporters not to forget a sexual assault allegation from early in his career.

Allegation? He admitted it. Even when it's mentioned in passing it is given a pass.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:58 AM on January 27 [23 favorites]


The difference between Kobe Bryant and Brock Turner is that Kobe was better at sports. And that effects how they will be remembered.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:00 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Wow regarding that WaPo reporter suspension. Differing reasons from the paper why. "She was undermining the work of other reporters." Or she didn't black out names in screenshots of people who sent her vile messages. (Of the you f***ing cunt variety.)
posted by NorthernLite at 12:01 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


I want to make it very clear. I think we should live in a world where folks talk about rapists and what they did when they die.

The problem is, y’all reserve that rule for black people and no one else. And we see you. And I see you. And I’m a victim of sexual assault.


If the problem is that people don't talk as much about white rapists as they do about black rapists, then the solution is to talk more about white rapists, not give black rapists a pass.

For a whole lot of people it is a very conscious decision to hold up the positive contributions he was able to make and the inspiration he was able to provide, and say that those things are worth celebrating. And it is meaningful to mourn that loss.


It's possible to do this without savaging women who also want to remember that he's a rapist. His death and the other deaths were tragedies, and he was enormously talented, and he meant a lot to millions of people, and he was a rapist. The vicious response to women who want to put an asterisk on the hagiography has been an extremely painful reminder that rape just isn't that serious for way too many people. It's gauche to bring up.
posted by Mavri at 12:02 PM on January 27 [26 favorites]


Jamele Hill in the Atlantic
Like so many people, I am devastated that Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. I am in mourning. Kobe felt like a member of my family. For me and many others, he was the embodiment of what we thought we could be—fearless, driven, and excellent.
Jamil Smith in Rolling Stone:
In Nipsey and Kobe, there is a poignant parallel: two lives cut much too short — but also before the world at large truly got to comprehend the totality of the men. They both were men with extremely flawed pasts who had sought redemption in their own ways. And they had acts yet to live out. But we’ll never see them. We’ll never fully know who they could have become.
posted by parallellines at 12:40 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


[Folks, we have explicitly said that talking about Bryant's history around rape is fair game; we need this thread to stop being about moderation decisions, period, and especially moderation decisions that do not actually exist. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:06 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


An inside look at the Washington Post’s “misguided suspension of Felicia Sonmez” for her tweets about Kobe Bryant’s rape case from WaPo’s Erik Wemple.
posted by sallybrown at 1:10 PM on January 27 [16 favorites]


> An inside look at the Washington Post’s “misguided suspension of Felicia Sonmez” for her tweets about Kobe Bryant’s rape case from WaPo’s Erik Wemple.

Democracy dies in darkness. Rape culture, meanwhile, thrives when you kneecap your own reporter for merely linking to a detailed account of a public figure's sexual assault.

Heckuva job, WaPo.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:43 PM on January 27 [22 favorites]


I know whataboutism is a mug's game, and I'm not entirely sure what conclusions can or should be drawn from this observation, but yet and still...

I can't shake the feeling that if it were, say, Ben Roethlisberger whose untimely death we were talking about today instead of Kobe Bryant's, an awful lot of people on both sides of the "Should we bring up the rape stuff?" question would more or less be making each other's arguments.
posted by non canadian guy at 1:52 PM on January 27


Interestingly, I was thinking about Roethlisberger because neither of the two rabid Steelers fans I know even attempts to defend him or deny that he raped someone. They look sheepish when it’s brought up (by big-mouthed me). But I have seen male sports fans from other teams pull out the “Rapistberger” nickname as some kind of sport taunt. A good example of how lots of people only seem to care about rape if it supports their already existing dislike for a person.

I find it interesting to compare Kobe to Joe Paterno. I might be recalling wrong, but there seemed to be a much more general acceptance of mentioning his good qualities alongside his involvement in the pedophilia scandal. The outliers who became enraged by that were treated as irrational fans.
posted by sallybrown at 2:07 PM on January 27 [11 favorites]


Here’s the Paterno thread, for comparison.
posted by sallybrown at 2:13 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Damon Young: On Processing My Messy Feelings About Kobe Bryant's Myth, Life, and Death:
I believe that there’s no such thing as “too soon” when discussing the less-than-positive feelings someone might have about the recently deceased; particularly if said deceased has been accused of an unforgivable thing. Particularly if a person has been victimized by the deceased or victimized in a similar manner to what the deceased was accused of. I believe that the urge to silence those voices—or, rather, to provide them with some sort of rubric on when and where and how they’re “allowed” to speak—is a violent one and reminds me of when white people ask us to be more “civil” when speaking on injustice. I believe that there’s space in the same room to discuss his impact on the sport, his place in the culture, his apparent love for his family and his daughters, and also that he was accused of rape, and that this space only doesn’t exist if the myth-making consumes all the oxygen.

I also know—not believe, but know—that “Colorado” colored how I felt about him as an athlete, and still, today, feel about him as a man. But I question my sincerity. Did/do I genuinely care for the woman who was allegedly victimized, or is/was “Colorado” just a prime opportunity for me to be self-righteous when considering Kobe and comparing him to players I’m bigger fans of? I want to believe that the answer to both questions is “yes.” But maybe I just want to believe I’m capable of making that distinction.


Young has a really compelling essay in his fantastic memoir, What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker on how his understanding/response to women's accounts of sexual violence has evolved since he started blogging, btw.
posted by TwoStride at 2:22 PM on January 27 [17 favorites]


Folks, we have explicitly said that talking about Bryant's history around rape is fair game; we need this thread to stop being about moderation decisions, period, and especially moderation decisions that do not actually exist

I haven't seen anybody say there should be no comments about the rape he committed. But there is a very big difference between saying something should not be talked about in a Metafilter thread (i.e. a moderation decision) and criticizing how eager white people are to cast black men as one dimensional villains who should be solely defined by their crimes. It's a characteristic type of failed intersectionality and genteel racism that thrives in overwhelmingly white spaces such as Metafilter, and it deserves to be called out.

Kobe Bryant by his own actions lost the privilege of having a uncomplicated cultural imprint. His crime deserves to be mentioned as part of his legacy. But if you can't see a difference between him and Ben Roethlisburger or Joe Paterno, it's because you have a blind spot when it comes to race in America. It may feel like a justifiable backlash to a culture that is all too eager to gloss over domestic violence and rape in an effort to glorify male athletes. But there are other tropes at play here, and seeing the outpouring of grief in the black community should give you pause to consider which ones you're contributing to.
posted by parallellines at 3:00 PM on January 27 [15 favorites]


But black Americans are forced to compartmentalize, to accept that its possible to celebrate the life and accomplishments of even deeply flawed figures.

I agree, and think this is usually best, because justice demands that we acknowledge both talent and crime for what they are. Notably, black Americans generally vote for their economic interests, while most white Americans are in denial about their disadvantages under the wealthy people they admire. The deniers idolize success by respecting successful people unknown to them. As a result, they tend to discredit someone's success if they simply don't respect them, by knowing so much about them.
posted by Brian B. at 3:17 PM on January 27


Frankly, nothing in the this thread comes anywhere to close to "Good. Hope it hurt." and "Rot in hell, Joe. Good riddance.", so suggesting that thread shows that Metafilter is would be nicer if Bryant was white seems... rickety.
posted by tavella at 3:24 PM on January 27 [11 favorites]


In many quarters, even mentioning the rape case is seen as horrible and hateful and I’ve taken a lot of grief for doing so. I honestly don’t understand how his case differs from OJ and don’t imagine that anyone could possibly ignore his criminal actions and focus exclusively on his stellar NFL career when he passes.
posted by Lame_username at 4:05 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


I think the fucking horrid thing, as others have said, is that we're so blasé about rapists as a society that we let them go out and make history and become legends.

I can't entirely bring myself to blame people who think that their chosen brilliant monster brought them magic, and who find it hard to set aside that magic for all the evils it came accompanied with. But what's the implication there? Is it that magic excuses monstrosity? Surely not. Is it that you can't get magic from people who aren't monsters? That's obviously a garbage notion. I think the best you can get is that some people want to excuse an amount of monstrosity from people who "didn't know better", but "didn't know better" surely opens up one fuck of a can of worms where morality and ethics are concerned.

I hope, one day, for a world rife enough with magic, or caring enough of victims, that someone less horrible finds their chance to bring some magic people's ways. It's too late for Kobe not to be a legend—though given enough time, he too may be forgotten as anything but a historic relic, an anecdote of athletic prowess and racial progress and casual horror all at once—but I'd hope we find our way to find magic in different, more caring ways. And I hope in tandem, perhaps, that the cultural behemoths which generate our legends find ways of making fewer monsters in the process. (If you want to blame the machine rather than the individual for this, that is, and I relate to those who'd refuse to give Bryant even that much.)
posted by rorgy at 4:18 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Lame_username, your comment conflating OJ and Kobe’s crimes is one of the most breathtakingly racist shit comments I have seen on this site in a looooong time. You ARE being horrible and hateful.

I am hate reading this thread.
posted by msali at 4:34 PM on January 27 [13 favorites]


Opinion: We Have To Tell The Whole Truth About Kobe Bryant
It’s uncomfortable to raise the worst thing someone has ever done when that someone dies, especially when they are beloved. And I suppose it matters I write this as someone who thinks that very, very few of us are all good or all bad; few of us are saintly, even fewer irredeemable. We can admire aspects of a person’s talent without erasing the ways they also did irreparable damage. We can be horrified and angry about what someone did without writing them off as worthless, without seeing them go away — to jail, to the grave — and saying “good riddance.”

But is it an affront to bring up the bad things someone did, so soon after they die, when their loved ones and their admirers are still grieving? How bad do those bad things have to be to merit immediate mention? How good do the good things have to be to justify silencing the rest?
posted by kirkaracha at 4:53 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


[Making analogies is rarely helpful in a charged subject, because the ways the cases differ are hard to ignore. Look, there are good reasons why people are feeling both (a) it's essential to take the rape seriously, and that minimizing it is part of a pattern of larger social misogyny and violence against women; and at the same time (b) it's essential to acknowledge a black public figure who had great accomplishments, in the way a white public figure would be honored and recognized in this kind of circumstance, and that refusing to do so and especially then focusing on crime is part of a pattern of larger social racism. And we have people in the thread who have been harmed by sexual violence, and people harmed by racism/the downplaying of black greatness/the focusing on criminality as defining black male public figures. Both of these -- the misogyny and the racism -- are true. If we're going to have a discussion of this, we need people to acknowledge both as real things that really hurt people. We have the space here to grapple with complicated things; we don't have to end up with a "it's simple, only one thing matters, anyone who acknowledges other factors is wrong" view.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:21 PM on January 27 [14 favorites]


I can't entirely bring myself to blame people who think that their chosen brilliant monster brought them magic, and who find it hard to set aside that magic for all the evils it came accompanied with. But what's the implication there? [...] I think the best you can get is that some people want to excuse an amount of monstrosity from people who "didn't know better"

You can do quite a bit better than that. Some people are not seeking to set aside that ‘magic’ at all, because they don’t see it as something that can be simply set off against or cancelled out by the monstrous acts, just as those acts can’t be balanced out in part or whole by any amount of good deeds - as if good and bad things were credits and debits in the same bank account and one’s ultimate attitude towards Bryant (or any other problematic talent) is the product of some dry little moral accounting exercise. The good and bad coexist and contextualise each other - you may be in a position to hold both of them in your mind at once without giving in to the urge to simplify by having one excuse the other. Suggesting that those recognising Bryant’s talent and achievements must, at best, be only partially excusing the rape he committed is facile.

Or, on preview, what LobsterMitten said.
posted by inire at 5:25 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]




@luka7doncic honors Gianna Bryant tonight (He wrote RIP GiGi on one (Kobe) shoe, and has other victims names on his shoes too)
posted by cashman at 6:20 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


On Instagram, LeBron James just now made his first comments since Kobe's death.
kingjames
Verified
I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. WTF!! I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!! 😢😢😢😢💔. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation💜💛 and it’s my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life❤️🙏🏾 #Gigi4Life❤️🙏🏾
posted by Ahmad Khani at 6:53 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


The pictures on his ig post, wow.
posted by cashman at 5:38 AM on January 28


In light of the Washington Post's suspension of Felicia Sonmez, this column by one of its top sportswriters is noteworthy for pushing back, at least a little. I'm not following the Bryant reporting closely, but this is the first major publication I've seen make a statement like this.
There are people who never met Bryant who are in pain, real pain, because of the helicopter crash Sunday that took Bryant’s life — along with the lives of his daughter Gianna and seven others. He touched them, be it through his basketball skill or his unrelenting work ethic or his public embracing of fatherhood or his support for women’s sports — or some combination of it all. That is real. It counts. He meant something to millions, and that’s powerful.

Allow, though, for the other reality. On Monday, there were hundreds or thousands — pick a number — of women sitting at desks or driving in cars or otherwise trying to get through their day who processed the news of Bryant’s death from a wholly different perspective. For them, the accompanying tributes brought pain of a different sort. They are victims of rape or sexual assault, women who had never confronted their assailants, women who had tried to bury what happened. For them, the deification not only doesn’t sit right. It feels awful.

“The totality of anybody’s life is not sanitary,” said Kathy Redmond Brown, the founder of an advocacy group called the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes. “The totality of anybody’s life, especially one on the scale of his — such a visible person — influences a lot of people for the good and the bad.

“But that case did so much with regard to sexual assault. It impacted the way the entire society viewed it. It impacted whether victims reported it. It impacted the way the media reported it.”

A single action should not define Kobe Bryant. Nor should it be forgotten.

posted by martin q blank at 6:43 AM on January 28 [19 favorites]


Another interesting perspective I haven’t seen framed this way elsewhere, from Jessica Valenti’s ”Why Do Men’s Legacies Matter More Than Women’s Safety?”
The truth is that it was a remarkable apology, one that recognized at least some of the harm caused. In fact, in a 2016 interview, Neil Irvin, the director of the nonprofit Men Can Stop Rape, said Bryant’s apology stood in stark contrast to other high-profile men’s responses to allegations of harassment or assault.

“Kobe is the only accused individual who I’ve ever seen provide an apology in writing in my 16 years of doing rape prevention work,” Irvin said. “I read it and it fits with what I know about rape: survivors don’t lie… The question I’m left with is how do you honor Kobe’s statement and what appears to be his subsequent growth, without ignoring there was a survivor who also has to overcome the violence that Kobe admits to.”

If Bryant’s fans are looking for a way to reconcile their love and grief with the accusation, one way would be to consider this apology as a sign of someone who seemed to be taking stock of the hurt he caused.
In this way, refusing to acknowledge his rape, or fencing it off from the rest of his life, denies not just something bad about him but something good as well.
posted by sallybrown at 7:02 AM on January 28 [24 favorites]


This is also something that was touched upon on Zach Lowe's podcast with Ramona Shelburne and Rachel Nichols (at ~25:50).
There were things in his life that he deeply regretted later. And I'm not just talking about one thing, there were three or four big things. And what I watched Kobe do after each of those things was try to be better. He tried to be better about how he treated women. And we saw such an emphasis on him promoting not just the women's game of basketball, but women in general. Giving them voices that they didn't have. Space to speak and be elevated to being important.

We saw him after he made some unfortunate comments - homophobic slur - go out of his way to learn and be better. And be someone who could be a champion and a voice for good in that area.

Jemele Hill wrote a beautiful piece today about his initial reaction to Trayvon Martin, and that after he did that he took the time to actually critically think about how he had acted, not assume that he was right. And then act differently, and learn differently, and do more the next time one of those situations came around.

And for me, Kobe Bryant was not a saint. To say he was not perfect doesn't cover it, it was just that he wasn't all good all the time. And we don't need him to have been, we don't need to pretend he was, to talk about the way he lived his life, the hole he leaves, how much he'll be missed. And for me, how I reconcile some of the incidents in his life that wouldn't be the things that I would want one of my friends or someone I covered to do - I look at what he did afterward. Because to me that is such a big part of what life is about. You did the thing, now what? Kobe, afterward of so many big things, really strove to be better.
It doesn't erase what happened or absolve him of responsibility. It won't heal the damage inflicted. It does suggest that even at that level of untouchability that this level of fame and wealth provides, people can still learn and strive to be better.
posted by dmit at 8:27 AM on January 28 [8 favorites]


From 2016: The legacy of the Kobe Bryant rape case
...as fun as it is to reflect on his career and the mark he left on the sport, it’s also important to remember what happened off the court. Though the criminal charges were ultimately dropped after 15 months and the civil case was settled behind closed doors, the Kobe Bryant rape case left behind a legacy of victim blaming, media sensationalism, and image repair that still influences society — and other high-profile rape cases — to this day.
It’s Not “Too Soon” to Talk About the Kobe Bryant Rape Case
Slate’s Hang Up and Listen podcast spoke to Gibbs, author of the Power Plays newsletter on women in sports [and the above article], about how the rape case was discussed in the early 2000s and how it’s been covered in the aftermath of Bryant’s death. Below is an edited transcript of that interview.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:46 AM on January 28 [5 favorites]


Looks like fog and unfamiliarity with terrain were the major factors.
posted by srboisvert at 1:05 PM on January 28


I don’t think this has been posted, but here is a (very) coherent eyewitness account of the crash, with some interesting insight into the weather that day (lowest and densest fog that long-time residents have ever seen) as well as the immediate local terrain.

(The conversations I’ve read online among helicopter pilots, especially those familiar with the area, strongly indicate a collective sense of pilot error.)
posted by LooseFilter at 1:36 PM on January 28 [7 favorites]


one way would be to consider this apology as a sign of someone who seemed to be taking stock of the hurt he caused.

So I agree with this statement - to a point - but words need to be followed by action. Kobe reading his statement in court was definitely an important moment. And, I think, there is evidence that he worked to do better and be more mindful of women and how he treats them.

But he never, from what I can tell, came to terms with the fact that he raped that girl in Colorado. I would be inclined to give him more credit for his advocacy for the WNBA and other causes if he had taken more responsibility for his actions on that night beyond standing up in court, after he had fought off criminal consequences. Take a look at his GQ interview from 2016. That is a guy who may feel genuinely sorry but is unwilling to admit that what happened was rape
posted by Big Al 8000 at 2:09 PM on January 28 [6 favorites]


here is a (very) coherent eyewitness account of the crash

I'd seen a different interview with him I think, or at least from a different angle, and shorter. I remember noting that he said he couldn't see anything. But he's a sound engineer. Just a phenomenal description of what he witnessed. I hope whoever is in charge of investigating goes back on site with him and interviews him and gets all the information and perhaps additional detail they can. And he's also the one that called 911 just seconds later. Great citizen.
posted by cashman at 2:13 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


I got shown ESPN reporter Elle Duncan's minute-and-a-half long story earlier and loved it, and since then it has gotten huge on Twitter. She is moved.
posted by cashman at 5:04 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


My god the mixed feelings. Yes redemption should be available to all. We want men who rape to understand what they have done, become better and never do it again. And by all available evidence, not least the girldad link above, Kobe seems to have been an amazing father to his daughters. My heart breaks when I see them together in the picture in that video.

But still...still...do we only matter as daughters? Do men only learn to care for us when they have daughters? Am I being unfair? He made more of an effort to understand and acknowledge his actions than most. But is that enough? I don't know. I'm grateful for metafilter for providing the space to discuss these things. I have nothing but sympathy for the entire Bryant family, those who have lost their lives and those who have lost their loves.

Still something doesn't sit right with me. How do we stop seemingly ordinary, 'good' men from carrying out such shameful actions before they seek redemption? How do we keep women ('daughters') safe? What can we do for those who have already had to survive the actions of those who have been redeemed? How do we make it so that we don't have to have these difficult, tainted conversations and dilemmas?
posted by roolya_boolya at 7:20 PM on January 28 [13 favorites]


The Lakers/Clippers game that was supposed to be getting played starting 20 minutes ago was postponed. At first I felt like LeBron's grief given what had happened the night before and the morning of may have had an effect. Who knows though. Kyrie Irving didn't play in a game right after it happened, obviously because of it. I've seen a lot of talk about how LA really took to Kobe, and there are murals being drawn at different places in the city, and apparently they're trying to plan his & Gianna's funeral and picking bigger and bigger venues to hold all the mourners. Just a super sad story. They had Shaquille and D-Wade talking about it tonight I believe (I saw it on YouTube) and Shaquille's self-reflection was staggering. Shaq is like an endless 7-foot-tall bundle of fun and hilariousness since the day he came into the league. He's just done so many things over the years to entertain fans and spend time with them and court them. He's a laugh-a-minute. So to see him get to the point where he's looking down and just saying he needs to stop procrastinating and reach out to people he cares about, and specifically the people he was on set with, was something to see.
posted by cashman at 7:58 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]






The Nets (with Kyrie Irving playing his first game since sitting out the game Sunday) vs Pistons just started, and I'm half paying attention and talking, and I look up and they're showing 2 seats with flowers in them. And I was immediately touched by the gesture. I just thought it was like saving them 2 seats. Then I look for the picture online and I see its the exact seats they were in from the moment that went viral where Kobe was coaching Gianna. Gut wrenching. The Lakers home game this Friday versus the Blazers is going to be so sad.
posted by cashman at 4:57 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Vanessa Bryant posted a message on Instagram. Just a tragedy. I can't even imagine how she's feeling.
posted by cashman at 5:54 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Jerry West remembers Kobe Bryant.
posted by Chuffy at 8:45 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I’m finally watching some Kobe footage. He was just always there, and I don’t event watch basketball much but I felt he would always be there. This is painful, I am sending all my love to the family and friends of the 9 souls lost.
posted by girlmightlive at 8:41 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Carmelo Anthony, who plays for the Portland Trailblazers and also played with Kobe in the Olympics, is not playing for personal reasons tonight, as the Blazers play the Lakers. Melo's story is a trip because he was without a team for a long time, something like 14 months, and there was even speculation the Lakers wanted him. But he got picked up by Portland and he's been super grateful and appreciative and has been one of the best stories in the NBA this year. He played either Sunday or Monday, and when interviewed afterward he said it was one of the hardest games he'd ever had to play.

So he is out tonight when the Lakers play the Blazers at 10:30, and I imagine since this game is televised on ESPN it's going to be full of tears on screen and off.
posted by cashman at 2:46 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Oh and the NBA announced that for the All Star game in two weeks, one team will all wear 24 for Kobe, and the other team will all wear 2, for Gianna. People are also pushing for the Lakers to hang her Jersey in the rafters at the Staples Center. I'm going to be a sobbing mess if they do that tonight. I was stunned about Kobe passing, but it wasn't until I read up on Gianna that I burst into tears that she passed.
posted by cashman at 2:49 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Gene Demby on Twitter:
the reality is, talking abt the 2003 rape case seems so dissonant *not* because it's wrong to do so, but because for over a decade and a half, the sports media, in particular, has so studiously and uniformly avoided talking about it.

When he won the Oscar, some people were like "isn't it weird that Hollywood is having this #MeToo moment and they're also awarding Kobe?"

sports fans did not like that. "why are you bringing up old shit?"
When he won the ESPY the year he retired, and people brought the case up, fans were like "damn, y'all can't let this man shine."

And now that he's dead, as @staceyNYCDC pointed out, the defense is "why are you bringing it up now that he's not here to defend himself?"

it's become pretty clear that there will never be a right time to talk about Kobe's rape case, and if you *do* talk about it, you have to do so through through the lens of exculpation and redemption.
posted by non canadian guy at 3:44 PM on January 31 [9 favorites]


That twitter thread also has some good insight about Kobe's persona:
you actually cannot fully understand Kobe Bryant's public profile without talking about the 2003 case, regardless of whether you want to talk about the actual details of the case and the trial.

By the time Kobe was in his early 20s, he had already won three championships with the Lakers. He was on top of the league, and in those early days, Kobe openly talked about wanting to be Will Smith – a multi-hyphenate entertainer and pitchman.

Then the rape accusation came.

McDonald's dropped him. Coca Cola — he was a Sprite pitchman — dropped him. Nutella dropped him.

He went from the golden boy to damaged goods as an endorser. The NBA Will Smith route was foreclosed to him.

As time went on, Kobe started to embrace a different public persona — he was the hardass, i-have-no-friends dude who would embrace being unliked if it meantwinning. He called himself the Black Mamba, a nickname that stuck and became beloved despite the try-hardiness of it all.

The rape case had been so thoroughly whitewashed and abstracted that the "Kobe the asshole" persona was effectively shorn of the subtext that helped birth it.
It's so true. What Demby doesn't mention in that particular tweet thread is that this also dovetailed with Kobe's version of 'the chase to catch Michael Jordan'. ESPN, Nike, Mcdonalds, Gatorade, everybody capitalized on having Michael Jordan be the single figure that sold the NBA to millions. Michael Jordan has a drive to win. At everything. Every. Single. Thing. He'll try to beat you at who can put their pinky furthest from their ring finger. He'll try to beat you at everything, because he was traumatized as a kid. He talked about it in his hall of fame induction (you've likely seen that "crying Jordan" image from that same talk) speech. His siblings wouldn't let him win at anything, and they just constantly beat him over and over, to the point where Michael Jordan was just bound and determined to win.

So once it became clear that Jordan's time in the league was fading and he was going to retire one of these times and really mean it, the search began for the "next" Michael Jordan, and players like Penny Hardaway and Kobe were examined by the basketball world for Michael's tendencies. Kobe seized on this and almost literally copied everything he could. So the development of that persona post Rape case dovetailed with the league's search for someone to replace the breadwinner. Only Kobe didn't have that story. He'd spent time overseas and grown up in an nba family and been in places with wealth and resources and it always bothered me how it didn't make sense. But Kobe said the MJ-like things and there are videos of YouTube showing how he basically patterned himself as a clone of Mike.

That becomes relevant because in the last week people on ESPN, knowledgeable people, have given him Michael's characteristic drive. "Kobe would want to beat you at ANYthing!" But literally a week or two ago I watched Kobe do an interview with Matt Barnes and Stephen "Captain Jack" Jackson, about him and Jordan's conversations. And Kobe said he isn't like Michael, wanting to beat everyone at everything.

For those of us in the basketball world, Kobe's Rape case was a huge discussion. At the time it happened people online still had a modicum of sense, so there was discussion of what was happening, what it meant, the racial implications and other issues, and minimal trolling. It affected a lot of people's conception of him. It stuck with me and has never left. It's always there. He'd hit or miss a shot, hit or miss a game winner, or do whatever he was doing, but it was like the diamond over a sims character, always there.
posted by cashman at 6:29 PM on January 31 [8 favorites]


Here is an interview on YT in which Kobe talks about why he started travelling by helicopter (36:21).
posted by fairmettle at 3:15 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Kobe's memorial will be at Staples Center February 24th. I don't know if that's a funeral or a service or a memorial thing or what. Seems weird to me but it's a celebrity memorial so I guess perhaps it being like a month after the person died isn't unusual. And again, I don't know if his and Gianna's remains will be there - the tweet is pretty scant with details.

Separately, there's a lot going on as Gayle King interviewed Lisa Leslie and brought up Kobe's rape case and not just as an aside. Now a bunch of people have stepped into it and messages are going back and forth. I suppose it was all going to come to a head from the beginning of this tragedy, but for a time there I wasn't sure how things would play out.
posted by cashman at 2:38 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Vanessa Bryant made another post about the death of her husband and daughter.
I’ve been reluctant to put my feelings into words. My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone. I can’t process both at the same time. It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me. It feels wrong. Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn’t being able to have that opportunity?! I’m so mad. She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri. I know what I’m feeling is normal. It’s part of the grieving process. I just wanted to share in case there’s anyone out there that’s experienced a loss like this. God I wish they were here and this nightmare would be over. Praying for all of the victims of this horrible tragedy. Please continue to pray for all.
posted by cashman at 3:04 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


A Celebration of Life - Kobe and Gianna Bryant - livestream starts in 5 minutes.
posted by cashman at 9:56 AM on February 24 [2 favorites]


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