In the wake of controversy over whether the sexual assault allegations against NBA legend Kobe Bryant should be mentioned after he was tragically killed along with his daughter and seven other passengers in a helicopter crash on January 24, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley told NBC’s Today, “ … he had a flaw that we all know about … You have to tell the picture in totality.”
Barkley was interviewed along with his “Inside The NBA” colleagues, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, former NBA star Kenny Smith and the show’s host, Ernie Johnson. Barkley stated, ”Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest basketball players ever. And he had a flaw that we all know about … You have to tell the picture in totality. We’re not making Kobe out to be no hero. We’re celebrating his basketball excellence. We understand what happened in Colorado. That’s fair, but two things can be true.”
As The Daily Mail reported, “Bryant was accused of sexual assault by a 19-year-old female hotel employee in Colorado, where he was scheduled to undergo knee surgery in the summer of 2003. He did not deny cheating on his wife, Vanessa, but did claim the sexual encounter was consensual. The accuser, who was never publicly identified, refused to testify at trial, prosecutors dropped the charges against Bryant, and the two settled a civil lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.”
Recently CBS’ Gayle King asked WNBA legend Lisa Leslie about the 2003 sexual assault allegations, prompting rappers 50 Center and Snoop Dogg to slam King, with Snoop Dogg saying, “back off before we come get you.”
NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote a piece in the Hollywood Reporter in which his perspective echoed Barkley’s as he wrote, “We can love and respect Kobe without canonizing him as perfect. Death often immortalizes the ideal rather than the real. But it was the real Kobe, flaws and all, that we should love.” He also addressed Snoop Dogg, writing:
King herself posted a video expressing her alarm at the clip because it was taken out of context of the larger interview, and CBS released a statement agreeing it was a mistake. However, without finding out any facts or contacting King, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Snoop Dogg immediately released vitriolic personal attacks on King reminiscent of Trump’s attacks on Megyn Kelly and Rosie O’Donnell.
Both men responded to the video by calling King a “bitch,” among other insults. While it’s clear that 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg were reacting from a place of deep grief, their personal emotion doesn’t justify such a public and misguided attack.
Abdul-Jabbar added, “To his credit, Snoop Dogg has since apologized for his comments, admitting he overreacted: ‘I would like to apologize to you publicly for the language that I used and calling you out of your name and just being disrespectful.’ He also said, ‘When you’re wrong, you gotta fix it.’ That’s something Kobe would have agreed with.”
Video of Barkley below: