In the March 31 issue of the New Yorker, Kobe Bryant discussed life, race and the inevitable conclusion of his illustrious basketball career with Ben McGrath. Perhaps most shocking is Bryant’s assertion that wide-spread support for Trayvon Martin was premature and he refused to show support for the slain teen simply because he’s African American.
According to Colorlines, when McGrath asked Bryant’s opinion on the Miami Heat’s show of solidarity with Martin in the now iconic “Hoodie” photo, the 35-year-old L.A. Laker said that such a move showed lack of “progress”:
I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” he said. “That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.”
The profile goes on to quote former NFL running back Jim Brown, who at one point said, “[Kobe] is somewhat confused about culture, because he was brought up in another country.” Bryant then defended himself on Twitter, writing, “A ‘Global’ African American is an inferior shade to ‘American’ African American?? #hmmm. that doesn’t sound very #Mandela or #DrKing sir.”
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) December 12, 2013
Read more at Colorlines.