Kobe Bryant on how the 2003 sexual assault trial changed him and why he & Shaq couldn’t coexist in LA [video]

Kobe Bryant sat down for a one-on-one interview with “In Depth with Graham Bensinger” for Yahoo sports. In the 22 minute long session, Bryant opens up about the Colorado rape trial and how it effected his life, why he and Shaq could no longer coexist and retirement.

Check out the video and a few excerpts from the interview.

On the 2003 sexual assault charges and the trial:

 There’s times where it just seems like days are just endless, like this is never going to end. This feeling, this dark time is just never going to be over…” Bryant also addresses how the situation may have had a positive impact on him: Once you go through something like that, you can’t help but be different. You can’t help but have a better sense of who you are.”

Kobe Bryant shares that he has had conversations with NFL player Ray Lewis who had murder charges against him dismissed:

A lot of – other players can’t relate to that sort of stuff, to that type of pressure. That’s real pressure. That’s life pressure. It’s not hitting the game winning shot. If you make it, you win. If you miss it – no. That’s not pressure.”

Bensinger asks Kobe Bryant what he learned from the whole experience: It just really teaches you how to let go and how to trust and not try to control everything.”Bryant discusses how he was able to avoid having the situation affect his basketball game:I’m not going to stop playing. I’m not just because you guys think I should stop playing, just because you guys think that I won’t perform as well. I’m going to show you.”

Bryant has played in the NBA for 17 seasons. he has 2 more years left in his contract with the Lakers. Kobe discussed his thoughts on retirement:

I’ve been playing for 17 years now, so next year will be my 17th and then, when I’m 35, it will be my 18th year in the league. I mean that’s a long time to be playing. It will be the last year in my contract, so I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ll play any longer than that.”

On why he and Shaq could no longer coexist on the Lakers:

 It just wasn’t going to work, so no matter what happened, even if we had won that championship … me being a free agent, there was just no way.”There’s things that I wanted to do with my career and take my career to another level, that I was just incapable of doing as long as we were playing together.”




Lot’s of interesting stuff there. I believe Jerry Buss made the right decision with moving on from Shaq for the younger Bryant but is Kobe still considered as selfish for wanting to move out of Shaq’s shadow when you look at what happened with he and Dwyane Wade in Miami? Shaq has said himself he was immature and needed to grow up, as did Kobe, but do you think the two should’ve worked harder to work through their differences for the sake of a Laker dynasty?

Also an interesting footnote, the interview was shot at his ‘Newport beach home.’ I thought Vanessa got all those… Nope, the divorce papers were never signed but it’s still on the table.