Kobe: Jim Brown Comments About 'Global' vs. 'American' Blacks 'Out of Left Field'
After Cleveland Browns legend and civil rights icon Jim Brown said Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe did not understand black culture in America as well because Bryant spent part of his youth in Italy, Bryant responded by saying Brown's comments came "out of left field" and were not in the spirit of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.
On the Arsenio Hall Show last Wednesday, Brown said of Bryant:
“He’s somewhat confused about our culture. Because he was brought up in another country…If I had to invite people to that [black athlete] summit all over,” Brown said, referring to a summit held in the early 70s regarding Muhammed Ali’s refusal to fight in the Vietnam War, “there’d be some athletes I wouldn’t call. He’d be one of them.”
Bryant, who lived in Italy from 1984 until 1991 when his father played professional basketball with the likes of his current coach Mike D'Antoni, initially tweeted his response on Twitter:
After being asked during practice about Brown's remarks, Bryant, who went to a privileged high school (Lower Merion) in suburban Philadelphia, elaborated to reporters on Thursday about Brown's remarks.
“It surprised me in the sense that it came out of left field. I’ve never even met him. It came out of left field. But I do think it’s a great opportunity to have this conversation, to have this discussion," he said, according to USA Today. "No matter where you come from, whether you come from Italy, whether you come from Inglewood (a Los Angeles neighborhood), whether you come from London, it doesn’t matter. Ultimately the conversation is that it doesn’t matter what color skin you are to begin with. But I think it’s a good place to start and have a good conversation.”
Bryant continued and said, "There’s nothing to talk about. We have different perceptions and different views on that, clearly."
"The thing I’ve tried to do is I’ve tried to educate our youth going forward, no matter what color skin you are, African-American or white or whatever the case may be," he said. "Just try to talk about having a bright future going forward and how to help the kids and progress as a society as a whole. He and I, there’s no reason for us to try to have a conversation. We’re on opposite sides of the spectrum. I’m an old dog, but he’s a much older dog and a lot more set in his ways than I am.”