Kobe Bryant's alleged affair with former Laker Girl, Vanessa Curry, is now in its first full week of circulation. Most of the sports blogosphere, wary of the story, kept its coverage to a minimum during the initial flurry, cautiously skeptical about the source (The Dirty.com) and the lack of visual evidence that the site usually provides with its stories.
(Or overall disinterest.)
So far, none of the visual evidence has yet to surface, but the story is getting advanced, blurbed and talked about at a higher frequency, mainly because of the cease and desist letter and because ESPN the mag's Laura Lane decided to blog about Vanessa Bryant's warped tirade.
After the jump, the breakdown of what's transpired so far – and what's to come.
Thursday, May 20:
The original, one-off post that cracked open the door. Nik Richie, the Dirty's lead writer,, said in a phone interview that his source was "rock solid" and that the both the site's legal team and owners were 100% backing this info certain based on their source's information. Richie contends that the alleged affair had been ongoing and was one the Lakers were, obviously, doing everything in their power to tamp out. The disappearance of Curry's information on the Laker Girls site, was the only evidence The Dirty.com trotted out during its initial posting, but hinted to having more damning evidence. Richie said during that phone conversation that he was speaking on the phone with Curry (she declined to comment) and that TMZ was in the process of posting the cease and desist letter from Bryant's attorney. The C & D ran Monday.
The story gets a little action from entertainment blogs and then gets picked up on the always entertaining in its own special way, Media Takeout, with accompanying comments from its readership like, "Im guessing that his wife doesnt like to buttf*ck" and "KOBE IF YOU DONT WANT YOUR WIFE PASS HER LIKE A BASKETBALL TO A REAL PLAYER YOU LOLLIPOP SUCKA!!!!" Well said.
The Laker Girls' coach Lisa Estrada responds to the Dirty's allegations, but says Curry left on her own accord to pursue a career in "hosting." This is kind of a red flag on this whole thing. Why on earth would an 18-year-old girl decide to up and leave a high profile job right before the playoffs in order to pursue a career in "hosting"? Questionable, but again, nothing too indemnifying. Kobe's world continues to spin on its Mamba-sized axis.
ESPN the magazine contributing writer Laura Lane writes on her own blog, "Ride The Fast Lane", that Kobe's wife, Vanessa, flips out on her outside of the Lakers lockerroom after a story Lane wrote for the magazine. The outburst was considered odd, but not uncommon for Vanessa Bryant. In her post, Lane suggests that Bryant may be taking out her frustration on her due to the rumors about the affair. Lane takes down her blog after the story takes off.
The Dirty.com posts another photo of Curry and baits Kobe's lawyers even more: "Ask your client about the escapades in the back room at Dolce in Dallas." The Dirty hints that the information they're receiving is coming from a current member of the Laker Girls.
• TMZ runs cease and desist letter from Bryant's attorney, Adam Streisand.
• Nik Richie threatens a Mitchell Report-sized mountain of evidence against Bryant. (Like this, I guess, but in pink font.)
The Dirty.com is still rabbit-punching — but still revealing nothing of substance.
• The Dirty.com's lawyer, David Gingras, responds to Team Kobe's legal threats. TMZ (again) runs the letter, taking pot-shots at the site throughout. One of the amusing things about Gingras' letter is the last paragraph: "As you may have noticed, www.TheDirty'.com allows viewers to post comments in response to stories such as this one,as several folks have already done. If he would like to do so, Mr. Bryant is welcome to post a comment in this section explaining that he is not pleased with the story and he is welcome to express his opinion that The Dirty is not a website he finds worthy of his endorsement."
• Laura Lane talks to USA Today about why she ditched the blog: "I saw it was getting a lot of crazy attention. I really wasn't expecting to get this attention. Attention comes with controversy, and I didn't want that." Via email Laura Lane declined to comment any further about the Bryant situation.
• ESPN (The "Mag.com") has a little fun with this whole thing. Sports By Brooks makes a great point and suggests the post may be a result of ESPN trying to do damage control on the "Lane-Bryant" situation.
Richie insists that incriminating photos of Bryant and Curry are forthcoming. One source close to the situation says that the photographic, visual evidence of Kobe and the Laker Girl are currently being negotiated for a price by a national gossip publication. If the affair allegations are true, does it change anyone's perception of Kobe? He survived a much worse public relations nightmare during the Colorado fiasco. His image, seemingly irreparably damaged, rebounded, and his game flourished.
Thing is, major media outlets can't even pretend they're interested in this story because if it's not true, pissing off the NBA's best player in the midst of a possible title run isn't going to be good for business. On the other hand, this is newsworthy: the NBA's best player (allegedly) gets busted (allegedly) cheating on his wife again, even after a very public, uncomfortable apology to her and this time with a (allegedly) member of the Laker Girls, and the team (allegedly) tries to cover it up. Yeah. That's news. But the sports media is having a justifiable crush on all things Kobe right now and, even if this is true, that will most likely not change. He'll survive. Again. His marriage, however, might not. But, as we well know, that also has a price that's negotiable.