Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Page 2 [Print without images]

Thursday, July 31, 2003
Updated: August 4, 10:06 AM ET
Diamonds really are forever

By Ira Fritz
Special to Page 2

How could Kobe do something like this? What are we supposed to think of him now? How could he disappoint his legions of loyal fans this way and put us in such a horrible predicament? HOW COULD HE GO AND BUY HIS WIFE A $4 MILLION "I'M SORRY" DIAMOND RING?" What the hell are the rest of us guys who don't have $4 million in disposable cash lying around gonna do to compete with that the next time we screw up and need to say. "I'm sorry?"

Diamond ring
Forget the flowers, cancel the dinner reservations. After Kobe, this is the only thing that will get you out of a jam.
Well, it's already affected my life. The other day, like many other days since I've been married, I messed up big time with my wife (reason will be left undisclosed to avoid severe embarrassment). So, I did what I always do -- I headed over to the neighborhood florist and asked for the usual. He handed me a dozen long stem roses, neatly packed with baby's breath and all that and wished me luck. I got home, walked in the door, and proudly presented my "I'm sorry" gift to my wife. She looked at the bouquet and sort of smiled, still obviously pissed, but at least willing to accept my offering and place it in a vase. "Home free," I figured. A few minutes later she dropped a newspaper article on my lap. In big letters it said, "KOBE GIVES WIFE $4M DIAMOND RING."

"Now that's how you say I'm sorry," she said, before leaving me alone with my thoughts. I had only one thought really: "My God, we're all screwed!" A rich kid who admitted adultery to his wife in front of millions of people on national TV has now officially raised the apology bar for men to an unprecedented and unreachable height.

So what are we going to do now, guys? What happens when we forget an anniversary, or get caught staring a little too long at the waitress' butt, or come home a couple of hours (or days) late after a night out partying with the guys? Ya think flowers or a box of fancy Godiva chocolates are gonna cut it now? Better think again. Ya think a shiny tennis bracelet, a naughty piece of lingerie, or a cute little charm that says, "No. 1 Wife" is gonna rescue our asses anymore? Maybe back in the good 'ol days before last week, but thanks to the $4 million man, never again. Hope the couch is comfortable, gentlemen, because thanks to Kobe we'll all be spending plenty of nights on it in the future.

And just imagine what some of the all-time commandment-breakers out there would have had to do to pay the price of forgiveness, Kobe-style. Take Bill apologizing to Hillary. First, he'd have to present the former First Lady with her own country -- maybe Liechtenstein or Canada or some place where she could elect herself president, since that's never going to happen here. Not enough? Then how about a custom-made Hummer? Since he got one from Monica, it seems only fair.

What about Billy Joel making amends to Christie Brinkley? Here's a guy whose face looks like it was repeatedly hit with a frying pan having the audacity to cheat on quite possibly the most famous and beautiful supermodel of the 20th Century. His act of contrition can be only one thing -- a spanking from Elton John on his naked bum at their next sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden. As much as Christie might enjoy that show of penitence, odds are Elton would enjoy it even more. (Billy should also be forced to apologize to the rest of us for writing "We Didn't Start The Fire.")

And let's not forget Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley. Sure the crackhead-looking hooker he picked up that night on Sunset Boulevard was a babe compared to ugly Liz, but this guy's got some serious atoning to do. His proof of remorse would be to sit and watch his classic film "Mickey Blue Eyes" on a loop until his eyes bled. Then, he needs to star in a series of PSA's about what to do in the event you've contracted a nasty case of the crabs.

Pam Anderson, Elizabeth Hurley
To the gentlemen who have wronged Pam and Liz -- don't quit your day job, you'll need the money.
And my personal favorite -- Shelley Long's agent and Shelley Long. No, they weren't married or involved, but it doesn't matter ... this guy owes Diane some big-time reparations. Telling her to ditch the place where everybody knows your name for a movie career that was about as successful as Roberto Alomar's tour of duty with the Mets turned out to be some very poor career advice. To apologize, the agent must write her a check for 90 percent of everything Kirstie Alley made as her replacement on Cheers (he gets to keep 10 percent for himself, of course).

Yeah, Kobe really let all us guys down big-time. Sure his transgression was quite the doozie, but a $4 million piece of bling bling? He'd have to cheat with the entire state of Colorado and half of Nevada to justify that. So many of us considered him a hero, cheering for him every game, even shedding a tear right along with him the night San Antonio eliminated the Lakers from the playoffs. Well, no more. I, for one, am taking my Kobe poster down today. OK, I don't have a Kobe poster, but I know a kid on my block that does, and I'm going into his room while he's at camp and taking his down. Maybe I'll put up one of Shaun Kemp or Rasheed Wallace or Allen Iverson ... ya know, a real role model.

I don't know what everyone else is going to do now, but here's my plan. Whenever I need to say "I'm sorry" to my wife, I'm heading down to my trusty jeweler, picking out a nice piece of fine craftsmanship, and telling him to send the bill to Kobe. So he'd better not lose any of those fat endorsement deals he's got, because I screw up a lot. In fact, I've got a nice 11-karat diamond necklace picked out for my next giant gaffe. Retails for about 10 million or so. Relax, Kobe, I know the guy ... he might take 9.5.