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Beast of the Month - July 2004

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  • robalini@aol.com
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 13, 2005
      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist


      Beast of the Month - July 2004
      Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers Guard & Alleged Rapist

      "I yam an anti-Christ..."
      John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the UK"

      After losing to the eventual NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs in the
      2003 Western Conference Semifinals, the Los Angeles Lakers, which
      previously had won the last three NBA titles, did what many an aging
      dynasty does when its empire falters: it tried to buy another

      It was a good strategy. They began to assemble a "Dream Team" of
      sorts, a team loaded with four of the greatest players in NBA
      history. They acquired forward Karl Malone, the NBA's second all-
      time leading scorer and two-time MVP, an all-time great hungry for
      his first championship ring after years of frustration in Utah. They
      also signed Gary Payton, a seven-time All-Star and arguably the best
      point guard to come around since John Stockton. This is in addition
      to the two superstars the Lakers already had: Shaquille O'Neal, their
      three-time NBA Finals MVP and 2000 league MVP, the dominant center
      who nearly approaches Wilt, Russell and Kareem as the great big man
      in NBA history; and Kobe Bryant, The Konformist Beast of the Month,
      who in 2002-3 rivaled Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett as the league's
      best player. With a collection like that, one could picture coach
      Phil Jackson kicking back and filing his nails while winning a record
      tenth NBA title.

      It didn't quite work out as easily as planned. Payton morphed into
      the worst caricature of himself, the malcontent whiner critics long
      had painted him as. Shaq had the worst statistical season of his
      career, and at times was more likely to curse in a post-game
      interview than hit a free throw. Malone, to his credit, had the
      right attitude and desire among the superstars, but the body did not
      follow: the forty-year-old former ironman missed 40 games to injury
      during the regular season and never fully recovered. But all these
      soap operas paled in comparison to the saga of Kobe.

      It all began in July 2003, as the Lakers were gloating over their
      Dream Team acquisitions. Bryant had gone to Vail, Colorado to have
      surgery on a knee. While there, Kobe (who is incidentally a married
      man, to the stunning Vanessa Laine) had sex with an employee at a
      hotel, sex she later reported as nonconsensual. What soon followed
      is the biggest sports-related trial since the OJ Simpson case ten
      years ago, and the media frenzy has not died ever since.

      (Curiously, the korporate media, which joined in immediate unison to
      declare the Juice an obvious double murderer a decade ago, has been
      far fairer to Kobe in his case. Some may claim this is due to the
      supposedly overwhelming difference of evidence in the two cases. A
      cynic, however, may note that that while Simpson was a washed up has-
      been with little commercial appeal left, Bryant is one of the top
      faces for a multi-billion dollar sports league.)

      Not being psychics, we at The Konformist have no proof of if Kobe is
      guilty or innocent, and that being the case, he does deserve a
      presumption of innocence. That said, we can state certain things he
      is guilty of. For example, when the case first broke, he had this to
      say to the L.A. Times:

      "When everything comes clean, it will all be fine, you'll see. But
      you guys know me, I shouldn't have to say anything. You know I would
      never do something like that. Man, there's a lot of crazy stories
      out there."

      No admittance to the supposedly consensual sex here, something Kobe
      didn't do until blood tests confirmed he did have sex with the
      woman. This brings up the lie that "you guys know me," something
      that seems absurd to any sportswriter that has dealt with the
      arrogant and withdrawn Bryant. In fact, sportswriters DIDN'T know
      Kobe, and the revelation of at least adultery underscored how little
      they knew him. Finally, things weren't "fine" after everything came
      clean, and many of those crazy stories appear to be true. So right
      away, Kobe has established himself as a liar, a wife-cheater and
      utterly delusional. (Okay, granted, the US did pretty good for eight
      years in the 90s with a President perfectly described by that

      When he finally did cop to it, he chose to have his wife Vanessa next
      to him, further humiliating her by having his sordid affair revealed
      while she sat with a deer-in-the-headlights look on her face. (Even
      Slick Willie had the decency to owe up to Monica on his own.) To
      supposed atone for his misdeeds, Bryant bought her a $4 million
      dollar ring, proving once again what a shallow and clueless
      individual he is.

      Later, Kobe and his team of lawyers - led by the ruthless Pamela
      Mackey, part of the firm that defended JonBenet Ramsey's parents -
      went out of their way to smear the accuser in the sleaziest of
      fashion. Mackey asked in a preliminary hearing if her injuries
      were "consistent with someone who had sex with three different men in
      three days." The charge, completely unproven, is immaterial: the
      crime on trial is not the alleged sex life of the victim, but the
      alleged rape of her by Kobe, which wouldn't be any less criminal
      whatever her personal sex life was. In the same hearing,
      Mackey "accidentally" revealed the name of the victim - six times.
      This despite a court order prohibiting her from doing precisely
      that. In reaction to this crude strategy, Tina Fey of the resurgent
      Saturday Night Live said on her weekly news skit: "What lawyer Pamela
      Mackey did by mentioning the woman's name, is to put her at risk of
      further harassment. A lawyer - like Pamela Mackey of the Colorado
      firm Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey and Foreman, which is
      probably in the 303 area code - should know that people can look up a
      name, like Joe Smith or Pamela Mackey, on the Internet and learn
      everything about them." (Fittingly, the following Monday, Mackey and
      her firm were barraged with phone calls.)

      The worst thing about the hack attack on the alleged victim is how
      unnecessary it was. The accuser is, after all, an admittedly fragile
      woman with drug and emotional problems. Based on what is known of
      the case, a scenario could be made that, while he was under the
      impression that she was consenting, that she stated her lack of
      consent in a muzzled way. Such a scenario could be closer to the
      truth, but instead of doing that, Bryant and his lawyers have chosen
      to do an impression of the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys defense.

      Too bad for the Lakers Kobe didn't always put the same effort into
      his games. On April 11, after facing criticism for taking too many
      shots, a moping Bryant took exactly one shot in the first half
      against the Sacramento Kings, their division competitors. He only
      started shooting in the 3rd quarter, after the Lakers were down by 21
      points. (He finished 3 for 13 with only 8 points.) Kobe at the time
      claimed his lack of shots was due to great defense by the Kings:
      nearly all observers of the game agree it appeared the petulant Kobe
      was holding out due to spite. In any case, this crucial late season
      loss (fueled by Bryant's selfish act of virtual non-participation)
      nearly dropped the Lakers to the fourth seed in the Western
      conference: only a season-ending collapse by the Kings managed to
      give the Lakers a division championship and a number two seed.

      Such was the case for the Lakers all season, a team that, for all its
      problems and screwups, still appeared to be the best team in
      basketball even with its glaring flaws. This isn't necessarily a
      compliment, however. Despite the gutsy play of Malone and Rick Fox,
      Derek Fisher and Luke Walton, the Lakers, for the most part, lived up
      to the worst stereotype of a NBA team that is overpaid, lazy and
      arrogant. Whether it be Kobe's self-absorbed behavior, Shaq's flabby
      body, or Coach Jackson's self-satisfied smirk and "Zen Master" label
      (yeah, Phil, it's not Jordan, Pippen, Shaq and Kobe that have gotten
      you nine NBA rings, it's Zen) the Lakers have become a loathsome
      collection of sloth-filled talent and overconfident pride. Indeed,
      with all due respect to the New York Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys and
      the GloboGym Dodgeball squad, the Lakers have arguably become the
      most deservedly despised team in all of professional sports. This in
      addition to the Lakers having the most obnoxious fans in all of
      basketball (Jack, Snoop and Denzel aside.)

      With all the soap operas and wasted talent, the Lakers still managed
      to reach the NBA finals, aided by Fisher's clutch last-second
      impersonation of Robert Horry against the Spurs. Their luck ran out
      in the finals, though, when they were cold-cocked by the less
      talented and experience (but more hungry) Detroit Pistons. Many
      expected a one-sided outcome to the finals: they were right, only it
      was the Piston that dominated the series and not the Lakers. While
      it was enjoyable seeing coach Larry Brown get his first NBA title, it
      was perhaps even more satisfying seeing such a bloated gang of louts
      get their turn as a slain Goliath.

      It is looking like Goliath won't be returning, either. It has been
      already announced that Jackson (who, despite his pompous behavior, is
      still arguably the best coach in the NBA) won't return. There is
      good reason to believe that Payton, Malone, Shaq and Kobe all will
      soon leave as well. It appears that the Lakers Dynasty may indeed be
      over. Good riddance.

      In any case, we salute Kobe Bryant as Beast of the Month.
      Congratulations, and keep up the great work, Kobe!!!

      Update: On July 14, Shaq, for all his flaws still the most dominant
      player in the NBA, was traded by the Lakers to the Miami Heat after
      Kobe reportedly told the team he would sign somewhere else if they
      kept O'Neal. The following day, Bryant signed a seven-year, $136
      million contract with the Lakers. (It is also believed that the
      ouster of Jackson was pushed by Kobe as well.) On September 1, after
      numerous leaks of information on the alleged victim lead her to
      refuse to testify in the rape trial, the criminal case against Kobe
      was dismissed. Immediately afterwards, Bryant finally had something
      decent and honest to say about the alleged victim: "I want to
      apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences
      she has suffered in the past year. Although this year has been
      incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain
      she has had to endure... Although I truly believe this encounter
      between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does
      not view this incident the same way I did."

      The Konformist
      Robert Sterling

      Post Office Box 24825
      Los Angeles, California 90024-0825

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