You didn't hear it from me because I'm not one to gossip, but word on the street is Kobe Bryant was served with paternity papers before the game against Orlando. Rumor has it he had his baby's mama stashed in Italy for the last few months. Apparently she got bored over there in the Tuscan sun and decided to come to the states and wreak havoc. Ordinarily I would dismiss this story as hearsay and nonsense, but back to back losses to Charlotte and CLEVELAND has me worried. If the rumors are true the timing couldn't be worse. As we approach all star weekend Kobe Bryant received the most all star votes, his jersey sales are #1, and he is the first athlete to receive a star on Hollywood's walk of fame. This news would be a major blow to the rebuilt image.
As past president of Laker Nation I'm not concerned with Kobe Bryant the man, husband, and father. He's a grown man and he'll deal with it in his own way. I'm concerned with how this bombshell will affect Kobe Bryant's legacy as a player and Laker Nation as a whole. We've seen Kobe overcome rape allegations in Colorado and power struggles with Shaq, but this is much more damaging. It's clear from their play on the court (THEY LOST TO CLEVELAND!) that this situation has already become a distraction and it isn't even a full blown story yet. The Lakers have no shot of winning the NBA championship if Kobe is not his usual focused and determined self.
It's all or nothing in 2011. If Kobe doesn't get his 6th ring and 2nd three peat this year the comparisons to Jordan will cease and desist. He will no longer be in the conversation. The Lakers will cut their losses and start fresh in 2013 with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul (did I just leak that 2 years early?) and the Kobe Bryant legacy will be put on the back burner. The current roster isn't good enough to fight off distractions of this magnitude and the rest of the league will show no mercy. The Lakers put all their eggs in the Kobe basket and now those eggs are starting to rot. For the sake of Laker Nation and the Kobe Bryant legacy I hope the rumors aren't true, but my heart tells me different. In the back of my mind I know once this story drops the Lakers will fall and some undeserving team will walk away with the Larry O'Brien trophy. What a shame, they were so close to immortality.