The National Enquirer dropped one of its perhaps-truth bombs this week on Kobe Bryant's marriage (here's a summary, since the Enquirer wants you to splurge in the supermarket and didn't put its story online): The tab reports that Bryant had affairs with 105 women during the 10 years he was married to Vanessa. Or at least that's what Vanessa told a friend. (The pair recently divorced.)
Wilt Chamberlain apocrypha aside, 10.5 ladies per year (plus his wife) sounds pretty boffo, especially given Bryant's reputation as a gym rat and, you know, his marriage. So we got to thinking: Compared to his peers, does Kobe Bryant score better on or off the court?
We examined Bryant's 2002-03 season, the second full season after he got married. It was an impressive scoring year for Kobe: he hit 30 points per game for the first time, shot 45 percent from the floor, and averaged seven rebounds. And, since Vanessa says Kobe philandered throughout their marriage, we'll assume he slept with 10.5 women, plus his wife, that year.
The mean points-per-game in the NBA that season was 7.75, with a standard deviation (which measures the variation among data in a given sample) of 6.06. Kobe Bryant's 30.01 points per mark was 3.67 standard deviations better than the mean—excellent, to be sure. But he finished behind Tracy McGrady for the scoring title.
However, according to a study performed that year by the Centers for Disease Control, the average male between 20-24 years old (Kobe turned 24 in August 2002) had 2.2 partners with a standard deviation of .2. So Kobe's 11.5 partners puts him at a tidy 46.5 standard deviations above the mean—meaning he would be among the most elite sex-havers in America, if the Enquirer's word is true.
Vanessa presumably knew she was marrying a resilient competitor, the kind who always wanted to be the best at what he did. Too bad she, like Smush Parker, got trampled underfoot as Kobe chased greatness.
Timothy Burke contributed to this report.