- Kobe Bryant received a hero’s welcome on Sunday night.
- LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers praised him during and after their win.
- With every cheer, it becomes less likely Bryant will be held accountable for a 2003 rape accusation.
The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Atlanta Hawks 122-101 on Sunday night, cementing their place atop the NBA standings. The loudest cheers at Staples Center, though, had nothing to do with the Lakers’ current record of 11-2, nor their long-anticipated future as championship contenders.
Instead, fans saved their most fawning praise for Kobe Bryant, who sat courtside and received raucous applause from the time he took his seat to when he left with several minutes remaining in the game. But Lakers faithful weren’t the only ones who made Sunday’s contest more about the past than anything else.
The basketball world’s selective nostalgia concerning Bryant extends to his playing peers and the media, too, who continue willfully ignoring the incident that should make him a public pariah.
Has the NBA Forgotten About the Koby Bryant Rape Allegation?
Bryant wasn’t convicted of felony sexual assault in 2004, and his case never went to trial. Just because the charges against him were dropped, though, doesn’t mean the heinous allegations levied at Bryant by his accuser were proven false.
Not only did he settle with the Eagle, CO hotel receptionist in civil court, but Bryant ultimately admitted the sexual encounter that she described as rape wasn’t consensual at all. Once the charges against him were dismissed, Bryant released an apologetic statement acknowledging that she never consented to sex.
In 2004, the public reckoning on sexual misconduct wasn’t close to its infancy. The #MeToo movement began picking up steam in 2015, while Bryant, during his NBA swan song, was treated to farewell celebrations from opposing teams and fan bases across the country.
Still a Living Lakers Legend
Three years into…