The sexual assault case against Kobe Bryant in 2003 helped the Los Angeles Lakers star sell sneakers, Skip Bayless reiterated Monday in a not-at-all-new opinion (for him).
Appearing on ESPN Worst Take — excuse me, “First Take” — Bayless uttered words that not even his well-trained co-hosts could pretend was profound. In essence, Bayless said the highly publicized sexual assault case made Bryant more marketable.
“Remember Kobe, pre-Eagle, Colo.?” Bayless said. “He failed in his first sneaker deal because he was just too clean-cut. I think it was Adidas that had him first, correct me if I’m wrong, but he couldn’t sell sneakers because he didn’t have enough edge.
“But then post-Eagle, it brought a little attention to him, like it gave him a little bit of sizzle.”
Perceptive NBA observers will recognize that it’s not the first time Bayless has offered this take. He’s written the same thing, at greater length, before, claiming the allegations added to Bryant’s “street cred.”
One thing is for certain: Bryant continued to be wildly popular even after he settled with his accuser without admitting guilt. At 36, he is about to begin his 18th NBA season and still has plenty of fans around the league. Whether that is due to, in spite of or totally unrelated to those sexual assault allegations is a matter for others debate.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images
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