NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown had some not-so-flattering things to say about Kobe Bryant during an interview on the Arsenio Hall Show on Tuesday night. For one thing, he said, Bryant “threw Shaq under the bus,” referring to former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal. The worst was yet to come.
Here is more of the dialogue of that interview.
“He is somewhat confused about culture because he was brought up in another country, so it doesn’t quite fit with what’s happening in America,” Brown said of Bryant, who lived in Italy for several years as a youth, but played high school ball in Philadelphia. Brown referred to Bryant as “an unbelievable athlete,” but also said, “In the days when we had a summit and we called the top black athletes together to talk to Muhammad Ali about his status with the armed forces, there were some athletes we didn’t call. So if I had to call that summit all over, there would be some athletes I wouldn’t call. And Kobe would be one of them.”
Bryant on Thursday was asked about the whole thing. The first thing he did was admit to being somewhat astonished by Brown’s comments.
“Well, I mean, it surprised me because it just came out of left field,” Bryant said after practice. “I’ve never even met him, so it came out of left field. But I do think it’s a great opportunity to have these conversations and this discussion. No matter where you come from, whether you come from Italy, whether you come from Inglewood , whether you come from London, it doesnt matter. Ultimately, the conversation is it doesnt matter what color skin you are to begin with.
“But I think its a good place to start and have a good conversation and try to educate one another and try to improve as a society from it.”
Bryant was asked if he would like to have that discussion with Brown.
“No, there’s nothing to talk about,” he said. “We have different perceptions, different views on it, clearly. So the thing that I try to do is always, what I’ve been trying to do, is try to educate our youth going forward, no matter what color skin you are – African American, white or whatever the case may be.
“Just try to talk about having a bright future and how to help the kids going forward, progress as a society as a whole. So he and I, there’s no reason for us to have a conversation because we’re on opposite sides of the spectrum. I’m an old dog, but he’s a much older dog, so he’s probably a lot more set in his ways than I am.”