GQ got to have a Q&A session with Kobe Bryant where they discussed, among other things, the Colorado incident, Kobe’s passion for film-making and the problems that come with the qualities that make Kobe Bryant great.
According to Kobe, one of the downsides to his maniacal drive for success is that it leaves him incapable of being “a great friend.” This may not be surprising considering that Derek Fisher once remarked that he’d never seen the inside of Kobe’s house.
So how much are you willing to give up? Have you given up the possibility of having friends? Do you have any friends?
I have “like minds.” You know, I’ve been fortunate to play in Los Angeles, where there are a lot of people like me. Actors. Musicians. Businessmen. Obsessives. People who feel like God put them on earth to do whatever it is that they do. Now, do we have time to build great relationships? Do we have time to build great friendships? No. Do we have time to socialize and to hangout aimlessly? No. Do we want to do that? No. We want to work. I enjoy working.
So is this a choice? Are you actively choosing not to have friends?
Well, yes and no. I have friends. But being a “great friend” is something I will never be. I can be a good friend. But not a great friend. A great friend will call you every day and remember your birthday. I’ll get so wrapped up in my shit, I’ll never remember that stuff. And the people who are my friends understand this, and they’re usually the same way. You gravitate toward people who are like you. But the kind of relationships you see in movies—that’s impossible for me. I have good relationships with players around the league. LeBron and I will text every now and then. KG and I will text every now and then. But in terms of having one of those great, bonding friendships—that’s something I will probably never have. And it’s not some smug thing. It’s a weakness. It’s a weakness.
The strange thing about Kobe is that the more that he opens himself up as he nears retirement, the more it seems impossible to truly know him. Kobe stresses later in the interview that this “weakness” was something that he acquired at a very young age, especially when he moved to Italy.
Do you miss the idea of having a great friendship?
Of course. It’s not like I’m saying, ‘I don’t need friends because I’m so strong.’ It’s a weakness. When I was growing up in Italy, I grew up in isolation. It was not an environment suited to me. I was the only black kid. I didn’t speak the language. I’d be in one city, but then we’d move to a different city and I’d have to do everything again. I’d make friends, but I’d never be part of the group, because the other kids were already growing up together. So this is how I grew up, and these are the weaknesses that I have.
The most newsworthy claim that Kobe would make in the GQ interview is that the league changed the financial rules of the league in 2011 to restrict the Lakers’ power in the trade market. That will certainly satiate NBA conspiracy theorists and Lakers fans who have had to “endure” a couple awful seasons (backed by years and years of success). However, as always, Kobe’s psyche was the star of the show.
Kobe Bryant: Still the most fascinating aspect about the Lakers (and maybe the NBA) despite the fact that he’s barely played basketball over the past two seasons.
The whole Q&A is definitely worth a read and can be found HERE.