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Tuesday, February 16, 2010
In the helicopter with Kobe Bryant

By Henry Abbott

Writer J.R. Moehringer -- he of The Los Angeles Times, then "The Tender Bar," and Andre Agassi's memoir "Open" -- has written an amazing Kobe Bryant profile that appears in the March issue GQ (and online -- a tad PG-13).

The profile tells the story of Bryant's career through the various injuries he carries with him. It also takes us into the helicopter Bryant uses to get to work from Orange County, where Bryant lives in a house that Derek Fisher says he has never been to.

Some of the many reasons it's must-read:
Then there's this exchange:

He insists this win-at-all-costs mind-set doesn't carry over to the rest of his life. "What people see on court is another side of me; it's not me. That dark side that's coming to get you -- ha ha! I'm not losing this f---ing game -- that's not who I am. That's part of me. Off the court, I'm completely different."

In almost the same breath he admits that a simple game of Cranium with his wife can turn into guerrilla warfare.

Cranium? The kids' board game? With Sensosketches and Cloodles?

He purses his lips, nods his head slowly: No joke.

The article also has a running theme of people trying to explain Kobe Bryant (he seems like ...) and getting it dead wrong every time. The memo is that the guy is not to be summed up that way. But with Moehringer's time in the chopper, human insight, and gift with language, he's one guy I'd really like to see answer that question.