Kobe Bryant is in the midst of another MVP campaign for the two-time reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. However awkward Bryant may seem off the court, his talent and shear flare for the dramatic is unmatched throughout history of the league. If he wins another MVP this year, despite the media and NBA “expert’s” groundswell of support for the more-than-deserving Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, and if Bryant wins another championship, giving him six, he should solidify his place amongst the greats of his era and all-time.
After his many off-court blunders that include a terrible foray into Hip-Hop, an infamous sexual assault case in Colorado, and the systematic polarization of every Lakers teammate he had during the their first 3-peat run in the beginning of the last decade, Bryant, 32, with the help of his marketing team, revitalized his personal brand and is as popular an athlete as their is in the world. The fact that Bryant has been so successful since his very public case and shaming reveals more about American culture than it does about his actual “revamped” personality.
KB24, or the “Black Mamba” as he is referred to by his legion of fans, makes extraordinary moves on the court that capture the imagination of people coming to NBA games hoping to divert their attention from reality or just waste a few hours watching the best athletes in the world perform with grace and power.
Hence, the question arises: how does Bryant perform at such a high every night? As Spike Lee’s character Mars Blackmon would exclaim, “It must be the shoes, right?” Well, NBA fans and sneaker consumers alike are much more sophisticated today than in the heyday of Nike’s Air Jordan campaigns. Bryant’s basketball greatness is undoubtedly due to his countless hours of practice and mental preparedness. But, it is intriguing and magical to think that by putting on his patented Nike Zoom VI maybe one could really perform at a tenth of his ability.
Sound off? Is Kobe off-court persona caught up with his on-court greatness?
Well, here are some highlights of the “vegan” shoe he will wear to capture his sixth championship ring: