Kobe Bryant was never able to completely put the worst aspect of his past behind him, even as he transitioned from his NBA career into his next chapter as a Hollywood and tech tycoon.
Did Kobe Bryant R@pe a Girl? The Truth Behind The S*xual Assault Case in 2003
Bryant was accused of s*xually abusing a 19-year-old woman in 2003. Bryant was one of nine people, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who perished in a helicopter crash south of Los Angeles.
There was no conclusive outcome, as there rarely is in situations where there are allegations of s*xual assault. There was no conclusion.
Just before the case was set to go to trial, the prosecution abandoned it, citing the accuser’s reluctance to provide a statement. The woman sued Bryant and reached a settlement, the specifics of which were never made public.
Before #MeToo, when society began to acknowledge the pervasive s*xual harassment and abuse that women experience in both the workplace and in their personal lives, Bryant continued a career that had never truly taken a break. He flew back and forth between court appearances in Colorado and games during the 2003–04 season while the matter was still being heard, frequently arriving just before tipoff.
The Lakers attempted to win a fourth consecutive title that year but fell short. Prior to his retirement in 2016, Bryant won two more NBA championships and two gold medals at the Olympics. He also continued to develop into a global celebrity and an ambassador for both his sport and Nike, his main sponsor.
But in 2018, Bryant was removed from a festival’s jury barely seven months after winning an Academy Award for best animated short film.
A petition encouraging the Animation Is Film Festival’s organizers to distance themselves from Bryant said, “This is an urgent time to say NO to toxic and violent behavior against women.”
Kobe Bryant Never Talked About It in Public
Bryant declined to address the s*xual assault case, as he did in the past. The festival’s decision, he claimed, left him “disappointed,” but he was now determined to employ “diverse stories, characters, and leadership” to transform the world.
For a brief period, Bryant was back where he had been in 2003: a person who, like Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein, worked at the height of his profession but was facing serious charges.
Weinstein is the unusual celebrity who has had to deal with such criminal allegations; he is currently on trial in a r@pe case in New York City.
On June 30, 2003, Bryant checked into the Cordillera Lodge and Spa in Edwards, Colorado, and that is when the case against him started. He traveled there to receive knee surgery at a hospital in nearby Vail.
Bryant asked the concierge to come back later and give him a private tour of the hotel after she showed him to his room. When she did, Bryant gave her a room-invitation. Although they both claimed to have started kissing, what transpired over the next few minutes became the main point of contention. Bryant had r@ped the woman, she said to the police. Bryant claimed they had mutually consenting intercourse.
It appeared that the prosecution had a good case. A hospital check of the woman reportedly turned up a bruising on her neck and tears in her v@ginal wall. Bryant’s shirt and her underpants both had blood on them. Bryant said to the police that he hadn’t specifically requested permission.
Though the question of permission has long been at the center of s*x crime laws, public cases like the one against Bryant have helped to change how it is perceived and taught. In place of the expectation that an objecting participant must say no, “no means no” has given way to “yes means yes,” and the concept of express consent has taken on the status of the norm.
Bryant apologized to the woman in-depth in a statement that was longer than most public ones after the case was dropped, acknowledging her perspective on their interaction. In a statement, he added, “I know now that she did not and does not perceive this occurrence the same way I did. I really feel this meeting between us was consensual.
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After putting his legal issues behind him, Bryant adopted the moniker “Black Mamba”—the name of Africa’s most deadly snake, which appeared in the 2003 film “Kill Bill.”
The Washington Post quoted Bryant as saying, “The whole process for me was trying to figure out how to cope with this,” in 2018. I wasn’t going to stand by and let this situation consume me.
Mamba shoes, a Mamba Sports Academy, and Gianna’s moniker “Mambacita”—the second of Bryant and Vanessa’s four daughters—all eventually came to be.
And in 2018, when asked why sponsors like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola severed connections with him after his imprisonment, Bryant claimed they did so because he was too “gritty.”
Later in adulthood, Bryant developed a strong passion for women’s sports. He produced voiceovers for the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, watched the Connecticut Huskies basketball team with his daughter Gianna, and talked nonstop about the WNBA.
And at those Oscars in 2018? Frances McDormand, the Best Actress winner, was mingling with Bryant at a post-show reception hours after she delivered an impactful statement about the need for more women in the film industry.
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