GQ's got a big interview with Kobe Bryant today, one in which Kobe continues to fully embrace his image as a sociopathic genius who doesn't give a fuck. It's up to you to decide if this is an old and wise Kobe finally being brutally honest about himself and his career, or just the result of his latest recalibration in self-branding. Either way, there's plenty to chew on here, like the moment when Kobe reveals that he's never really had a real friend.
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.
Kobe Bryant attempting to navigate his life after basketball is going to be one of the most fascinating sports stories of the decade. He might retreat to the woods and become a member of a wolf pack, or try to climb Mount Everest a dozen times, or become a world-renowned concert pianist. Anything is possible, really.