Kobe

There’s a Kobe Bryant quote I think about a lot, from the following GQ interview: Kobe Bryant Will Always Be an All-Star of Talking [2015]

Do you ever think that the qualities that make you great are actually problems?

Oh, yeah. But the things that make a person average are also problems. The things that make someone not good at anything at all are a problem. If you want to be the greatest of all-time at something, there’s going to be a negative side to that. If you want to be a high school principal, that’s fine, too—but that will also carry negative baggage.

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.

Do you miss the idea of having a great friendship?

Of course. It’s not like I’m saying, ’I don’t need friends because I’m so strong.’ It’s a weakness. When I was growing up in Italy, I grew up in isolation. It was not an environment suited to me. I was the only black kid. I didn’t speak the language. I’d be in one city, but then we’d move to a different city and I’d have to do everything again. I’d make friends, but I’d never be part of the group, because the other kids were already growing up together. So this is how I grew up, and these are the weaknesses that I have.

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