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Retired Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is one of the most peculiar personalities the NBA has ever seen. In addition to being a hyper-intense athlete whose approach sometimes led to issues with teammates and brushed many fans the wrong way, Kobe has varied off-court interests and a loner quality that most of his peers lack. It’s safe to say that no other player has posted a video of himself playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on piano in the middle of the night.
Bryant’s success on the court has opened up a variety of opportunities for him to indulge in those interests in his post-basketball career. One we haven’t heard much of is writing. However, Kobe is serious enough about his craft that he says he almost showed up late to his final game in April because he was editing short stories. From Thu-Huong Ha for Quartz:
At the WSJDLive conference in Laguna Beach, California, yesterday (Oct. 25), the former US National Basketball Association player discussed his new projects now that he’s retired from sports. Among them, Bryant said, is writing and editing, which he’s so passionate about that he got lost in it on the day of his last game in April. […]
“I was actually at the office until 4 or 4:15 editing a bunch of short stories, and lost track of time,” Bryant told the Wall Street Journal’s Dennis K. Berman. “And I looked at my watch, ‘Oh…I better go home. I got my last game to play.’” […]
Bryant told Berman he didn’t have a title for the book yet, and declined to reveal the plot, but said its purpose is “to inspire.”
Um, excuse me, is Kobe’s book already available for pre-order? I think it goes without saying that his Kenny Powers-style “inspirational novel” will be required reading.
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However, it seems a little odd that Kobe would almost miss his final game — a game that he and the Lakers willfully sold as a major life event for every fan for several months — because he was editing his short stories. Any serious writer will spend hours reworking and editing seemingly basic sentences, but that’s an opportunity for procrastination no one will pass up. Your colleagues don’t let you take 50 shots for 60 points every day.
Or maybe we have this all wrong and Kobe wasn’t editing his own stories at all. He’s enough of a perfectionist that he’d see no problem with improving other published work. He has the résumé to get away with it. Alice Munro has never even made an All-Star team.
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