On Oct. 20, ESPN First Take co-host Skip Bayless said Kobe Bryant's sexual assault trial "gave him a little bit of sizzle."
Skip Bayless thinks Kobe Bryant's sexual assault trial helped make the Los Angeles Lakers star become more popular.
This was what Bayless said during the Oct. 20 episode of ESPN's "First Take," per AwfulAnnouncing.com's Matt Yoder:
"First Take has done it again!
"One of the worst shows on television, which has routinely gotten in trouble for stepping out of line with baseless and offensive social commentary, has done it again.
"Skip Bayless recently said something so incendiary that it's difficult to fathom someone actually speaking these words in public. After discussing Cowboys RB Joseph Randle's arrest and subsequent endorsement deal, Bayless had the gall to suggest that Kobe Bryant's rape trial in Eagle, Colorado helped him sell sneakers and made him marketable.
"'Remember Kobe pre-Eagle, Colorado? He failed in his first sneaker deal because he was just too clean cut and 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, Colorado it brough a little attention to him, like it gave him a little bit of sizzle.'
"The mortified reaction by host Cari Champion says it all. The fact that she has to sit between Bayless and Smith every day makes her the most underpaid person on television.
"By this logic, Ray Rice should be ready to make a fortune right now. Maybe Stephen A. Smith could be his marketing director.
"Does Bayless cite any facts to prove this statement? Of course not. In fact, Bryant lost multiple sponsorship deals because of that sexual assault trial. Nike, who stood by Bryant, didn't even use his image in public ads for two years after charges were first filed.
"So it was sexual assault charges that brough Bryant 'sizzle' and sold sneakers? Or was it a huge marketing campaign from Nike after the storm had passed? Was it the fact that Bryant was the best player in the NBA in the mid-2000s by a wide margin? Bayless doesn't stop to consider these things, and why would he, that's not what ESPN pays him for. Instead, he walks into a bear trap of his own making by unbelievably starting with 'sexual assault charges' and ending with 'sizzle.'
"ESPN hosts trying to be amateur sociologists has failed time and time again -- this is just the latest example.
"As if any human would actually think, 'You know, I think I'm going to finally buy Kobe's sneakers now because he was accused of sexual assault. That kid's got edge because he doesn't believe no means no.'"
Grantland.com's Jason Concepcion (via ESPN.com) wrote about Bryant's last stand on Oct. 21. The 36-year-old Bryant is entering his 19th season with the Los Angeles Lakers:
"Kobe Bryant is facing his NBA mortality. In his own words,'Soon, but not yet.' It's a testament to the ferocity with which he's attacked his career that even though logic and a basic understanding of human biology tells us that, yes, definitely yes, Kobe is near the end of his NBA career, just writing it out like this carries carries a faint hint of danger. It's a bit like an aging dictator not showing up for his breakfast one morning; who dares go into his bedroom to check on him?
"Because Kobe has (proven) people wrong before: by jumping from Lower Merion High School to the NBA; by blending his game with Shaq's; by winning titles after Shaq left; by salvaging his public image; by hero-bailing out to such an extent that his copious bricks actually transformed themselves into a rare species of unselfishness.
"So, if you come out and say that Kobe is close to being done, you do so after considering the possibility that his indomitable, coiled Mamba fury, buoyed by harvested ligaments and European blood-spinning technology, can find a way to turn you into Dewey Defeats Truman in miniature. I mean, would anyone be all that surprised if Kobe took his revenge for being ranked the 40th-best player in the NBA by averaging 40 points (on 40 shots per game; Lakers go 4-78?).
"But 36 years old and over 45,000 minutes (13th on the all-time list above Moses Malone, the first player to jump from high school to the pros, and less than 200 minutes behind Robert Parish) equals gray-whiskered dog years dog years for all but the rarest for the rare pro ballers. And, in the wake of one of the most devastating injuries in sports, it is fair to consider this the twilight of the Byrant Age. I feel confident in saying that. I think."
Bryant has averaged 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 1,245 regular-season games for the Lakers through Oct. 21, per ESPN stats.
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