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Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 at 4:33 pm  |  72 responses

Photos: The Elusive Six

Kobe Bryant’s ‘super friends’ are his rings.

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Photos by Martin Schoeller
Originally published in SLAM 136

Go ahead. Film your hour-long specials. Sign up to play with your buddies. I’ll be over here, getting better. Call me when you’re ready. –Adam Figman

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  • JTaylor21

    CORNY SH*T

  • Tupack Shakur

    Could that be the worst caption for these photos ever? The only improvement Kobe seems to be working on is his nails.

    And then of course there’s the subtext that Kobe’s only friends are inanimate objects, while guys like DWade can at least pretend to be friends with Bron and Bosh.

  • haslem

    Wow. This just confirms the long standing theory that Kobe can never do cool off the basketball court. I think thats the biggest difference between him and MJ really.

  • Lebron James

    You’re the man Kobe! I’m so jealous of all your rings. I need one. Can you teach me how you do it? I mean, teach me how to be an assassin on the court! I need to learn how to be a winner like you! You are GOD! I bow down to you. Did you know I keep a little shrine of you in my locker? Candles and all! I love you Black Mamba. Can I suck your…

  • haslem

    I mean anyone remember his rap with Tyra Banks or the all white pilgrim outfit?

  • barry melrose

    what?

  • rocka

    why does this look like a male escort ad?

    a gay male escort ad.

  • Robb

    Nobody is cooler than MJ, that being said, Tupack didn’t get it.

  • tracemc

    ..or his photo shoot where he looked like an swahili woman starving to death a couple of months ago…

  • haslem

    or that viral video that ‘leaked’ of him jumping a car? I just think he tries to hard. After the lakers won game 7 he looked like an actor celebrating the game winning scene in a sports movie. Whereas MJ was like a black Frank Sinatra.

  • tomtom

    haaaaaaters

  • JTaylor21

    He must have gotten flashbacks being in that hotel room.

  • Robb

    ^^^^^
    Why? did he f*ck Lebron’s mom too?

  • xplor

    he gets payed millions of dollars to do what again?
    posing shots or shooting shots

  • http://www,paugasol.com AndTheJellosJigglin

    Im not sure Rocka, sounds like youre experienced with such ads.

  • lou

    Haters, did you see he won a ring with a broken finger!

  • Pingback: How to Jump Higher in Basketball » Photos: The Elusive Six

  • haslem

    I guess I am a hater somewhat, but only by half. On the court I think he’s brilliant, a proverbial basketball god. Off the court I think he tries to hard to be cool and always ends up coming across goofy, corny, or awkward in his attempts as this photo shoot demonstrates.

  • haslem

    he’s like that kid in high school who spent all his time studying to get into Harvard, graduated number one in his class, won all sorts of awards and respect from his peers for his brilliance in the classroom. In the classroom he can’t be touched. Yeah haters might jeer that he’s lame and all that and maybe not even the smartest kid in the school but all of the test results say otherwise and when it comes down to it, everyone is cheating off him anyway just to get by. But to become the man he is he had to forgo all friends and good times in his peak developing years and never got to experience ditching class to get high in a parking lot or boning a hot chick in his parent’s bed while they were out of town for the weekend. Missing out on this allowed him to rise to the very, very top but any attempts later in life to ‘fit in’ or ‘be cool’ smacked of inexperience with either, and comes across as fake. Don’t get me wrong, in the Company Boardroom he’s still the man, inspires fear in his co-workers, and sits at the head of the table. But at 5 o’ clock while he’s watching them depart through his glass window laughing and smiling, headed for happy hour, a small tear trickles down his cheek and he compensates the only way he knows how: by not leaving the office until 3 in the morning and netting his company another cool million.

  • yaos foot

    co sign haslem

  • ktokyo

    couldn’t agree more with haslem.

  • park

    you’ve got to be kidding me. you act like kobe is some loner with no friends…kobe keeps his circle close…and most of all he’s a BASKETBALL PLAYER. he’s a family man with a loving family and oh, he just happens to be a legend in the game.

    i’d MUCH rather be sitting at the top of that pedestal, rather then trying to fit in and ‘be cool’..and by the way that is a terrible analogy. kobe’s not in the classroom or in an office building..he’s playing in front of sold out stadiums night in and night out to the adorations of thousands. he’s an ATHLETE and he’s doing quite well for himself dont you think?

    good times? the man’s passion is basketball. he has good times whenever he steps onto the court. he grew up living and breathing the game and perfecting his craft. i love the game as well and i have respect for anyone that has as much love for the game and puts as much work into it as kobe bryant does.

    check the hate

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    ….oh yeah I forgot to mentioned a tarnished relationship with his wife and family. Dude is tough as friggin nails, can’t even be questioned.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    I guess the first part of my comment didn’t get posted. Anyways what i said was: @haslem I guess you are arguing that Kobe doesn’t have a ‘likeable’ personality or off court appeal, but I guess you don’t remember pre-trial Kobe. That Kobe was quickly becoming the most marketable figure in major sports. Adidas, McDonalds, Sprite, etc. etc. He was even on Moeyisha for a couple episodes back in 98-99ish. You act as if Kobe has never been ‘that dude’ forgetting, or just not remembering, back when he was. You realize after 2003 his public image was completely destroyed. Media tore his image into shambles. Family got torn into shambles. Lakers team got torn into shambles and the public perception was, of course, it was all his fault. Phil retires and writes that tell-all about him. If Lebron thinks he’s seen vilification he has absolutely no clue. You realize it wasn’t until 2007 when the Zoom Kobe 1′s dropped that his name was again branded by a major company? Even though he was a Nike athlete, and the Huaraches were technically his shoe, they didn’t put his name/face on any of their products until 4 years after the case. Whatever unease Kobe has off-court or in his public image, is simply a derivitive of years of being the media’s villain. Its funny how quickly we forget. Its really only recently that his image has been rebuilt…

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    lol at that silly Freudian analysis though

  • Omnixyience

    @JTaylor, go hide on your daddy’s ass
    you always talk sh*t to get some attention anyway.

    I think someone before said again and again to
    STFU!!!

  • C.B

    I think tracy mcgrady is cooler than MJ

  • http://twitter.com/HarryByrdMan44 LA Huey

    co-sign The BRK.
    I feel he’s also given up on being “likeable”. The idea of being locked up forced him to focus on his career and family as his priorities and to be very, very careful about whom he is around. Can’t say I’d blame him for that.

  • http://kb24.com DreXnaW21

    @LebronJames

    LOL good one

  • Love4Humanity

    Love him or hate him, he’s the best and he will win a few more before he’s done. I like guys who most people hate. He’s the top dog and he has LeBron making bad decisions just so that he can try to beat him lol. LeBron’s going to have to wait his turn.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    None of you people know Kobe…
    That is all.

  • Love4Humanity

    Kobe actually has some friends in the league. But he’s a grown man with a family. He’s not a movie star, he’s a basketball player. I’d rather be called a loner and have 5 championships than be the likeable goofy guy with no rings.

  • http://shaq_attaq@msn.com kobesBESTfriend

    This is stupid…Kobe couldnt care less about Lebron or his superfriends…he’s more worried about his legacy…he’s a grown man, he doesnt have time 2 think about king James and his flunkies

  • j4zzm4n

    that tracksuit is swish…to bad i can’t get it here in blighty. also i have no concern bout off the court kobe his achievements on the court are what makes him truly b.a

  • http://www.dontevenreply.com total scrotal implosion

    I have no comment

  • haslem

    nothing really Freudian about it it was just meant to be entertaining i’m sure the ‘real’ kobe bryant is much more complicated and weird. The only objective thing I can state for certain is that Kobe can’t do cool off the basketball court. Everything MJ did was calculated but didn’t seem to be, while everything Kobe does reeks of desperation.

  • http://slamonline. The Black Rick Kamla
  • http://slamonline. The Black Rick Kamla

    @haslem I don’t know if this was before your time or you just forgot about it, but don’t get it twisted- Kobe was THAT DUDE.

  • http://slamonline. The Black Rick Kamla

    dang this is bringing me back to my childhood who remember this joint that came on during the 2001 postseason?? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A13X_IMcfg&feature=related

  • http://slamonline. The Black Rick Kamla

    was looking for that old McDonalds commercial that came on back in like 02 where he was dribbling and he did the over the head between the legs joint….sick, me and my big bro would practice that move outside for hours lol…..like Roy Jones once said ‘yall musta forgot’!!!

  • Meech
  • http://slamonline. The Black Rick Kamla

    haha!!! good lookin Meech!!! lol I could never pull that joint off…still can’t lol

  • haslem

    I was 12 when Kobe got drafted by the hornets and traded for Vlade, watched that draft live while it happened like I’ve watched every draft since I was eight years old. In all that time K.O.B.E. has never been “that dude.” Again, I have nothing but love for his game, but how could he be “that dude” when A.I was around? I only have one link, but its all the proof I need. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpzJgLzzX38

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    KOBE IS SIMPLY THE BEST BETTER THAN ALL THE REST. BOOK IT!!!

  • The Philosopher

    Seed:
    Let me find out you’re into Tina Turner!
    Lol.

  • The Philosopher

    Kobe probably spends more time in the mirror than Vanessa.
    What is going on with him and these photo shoots??

  • JTaylor21

    @Philo, that’s debatable because Vanessa always looks like she just walked out of ground zero.

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    How can you guys judge Kobe’s off-court personality? You’ve never been around him without cameras. So shhh.

  • http://www.dontevenreply.com total scrotal implosion

    Tupac meets a gentleman in a white hat

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Haslem, with respect to your comparison, who the f*ck cares about skipping class to get high in the parking lot if you can get into Harvard? Honestly… That’s not even a knock or something negative–it’s called being, umm, SMART. I’m not singling you out, but if your life peaks at freaking high school, then that’s some sad sh!t right there.

  • Toronto’sFinest

    Black Kamla u just took me back. I’m talking Payton to Kemp days bra!
    Kobe is the best in the L right now and i can honestly say my Canadian pg Nash need to give him those 2 MVP trophies. As far as fitting in, he don’t need to do all that. His on court accomplishments speaks for itself.Buuuuut!!! I still gotta say, from 96-2002 AI (BUBBA CHUCK) was that nucca! Repped the hood maaad hard! Made anybody 6’0 and under wanna pick up rock and break ankles on a court. remember when he dunked on Camby! Sheeeet!! alley oop pass to himself! MVP! MAD SCORING TITLES! HE PREETY MUCH SAVED REEBOK EVEN THO HE COULDA WENT WITH NIKE! MADE GROWN ASS MEN WANNA BRAID THEY HAIR AND ROCK TATS! 1 CROSSOVER CHANGED THE LEAGUE MAN! HE WAS THAT DUDE! BY THE WAY F%CK LEBRON JAMES! SHOUT OUT TO WEST TORONTO! REXDALE STAND UP!

  • money

    lebron hater are so corny

  • Drew

    Where’s the rings?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    The commercial that Kamla posted with all the dunks is crazy.

  • pterradacto

    @haslem
    I’m a laker fan to the heart. Your comment resonated with me enough to leave my real email address. good stuff
    go lakers!

  • Tupack Shakur

    @ Robb,

    I’m assuming you thought I was hating on Kobe. I like Kobe. I was hating on the juxtaposition of the caption saying “Kobe’s thinking, I’m over here getting better” and the photo saying “I’m filing my nails”.

    Therefore it’s like saying, filing my nails/lounging = getting better.

  • Remo Williams

    Id rather be “great” than “cool” any day of the week

  • sh8kz

    AI is in china with no rings though….

  • http://kb24.com jbn74sb

    These pictures give me a stiffy.

  • str8 from samoa

    wata bored dude haha!

  • kg

    see poeple do anything to tear down kobe. has 5 rings so you cant even compar him to lebron or wade anymore the only thing people can do is to complare him to mj who has been retired for a long time. and mj has pulled stunts to how many times has he reitred and came back ? you dont have to be cool when your the best

  • wottywo

    Yes he has 5 rings, but 3 of those rings was being a sidekick for Shaq,so those don’t even count, Because I only count finals MVP trophies, that lets you know who’s team it was that year. So I only see Kobe with 2 true rings to his name.
    If you count the rings,m then you have to say Robert Horry(7 MBA rings) is better then Kobe

  • wottywo

    I meant Robert Horry(7 NBA rings)

  • wottywo

    I meant Robert Horry (7 NBA rings)

  • RyandC

    does that mean we count Pippen with 0 rings?

  • JTaylor21

    @No because Pip had slightly more of an impact than Kobe did, not taking anything away from KB because without him LA doesn’t win ish.

  • http://www.bruno-wong.com Bruno Wong

    Kobe.

    If you want real photographs. Give me a shout.
    http://www.bruno-wong.com

    Peace.

    Bruno

  • Robert Womack

    JTaylor: I agree with what you said, but all Im saying is, you can’t put Kobe with Jordan, because Jordan has 6 Final MVP Trophies, that means it was his team every year. And yes Pippen was more important when it came to the sidekick role.

    RyandC: I’m just saying,people stop comparing Kobe to MJ.

    One: Kobe doesn’t have the hardware Micheal has, and Kobe never transformed the game of basketball like Micheal Jordan did.

    2: The most important thing is,Kobe’s game is based off of Micheal Jordan’s. Meaning Kobe is basically copying Micheal’s style of how he played the game.

    3: (This makes me laugh every time)If prime Micheal Jordan was in this era, and prime Kobe faced Micheal who would win? Simple Micheal Jordan, the two reasons above should tell you why easily. If prime Micheal just came into the game the same time Kobe did, the game of basketball wouldn’t have been transformed. So that means Kobe would not have adopted Micheal’s style because that style of play wouldn’t have existed. So that means the now prime Kobe probably wouldn’t be the best player in the game today. So yes, Micheal would kill Kobe.

  • M5

    @ Womack:
    So, are you saying that Michael Jordan invented the moves he did on the court, or did he take from other great players before him? I mean why would Jordan ask David Thompson to present him into the Hall Of Fame. Maybe because his game influenced Jordan to the point where he wanted to be like David Thompson.

  • Robert Womack

    @M5: No, I’m said Mj took the moves and transformed them into his game, meaning he took one style of play, and he transformed it or turned it into something new. What’s so hard to understand about the point I made? Evidently you are a Kobe fan. All I’m Saying is, KOBE’s game is based off of the style MJ Invented. Meaning MJ is the teacher, and Kobe is the student. In the Nba just like anything else, there’s only a certain amount of moves you can do. (Let’s not forget Mj is not the first NBA player to play the game. So basically every move on the court has already been done.)But Mj perfected them, yes many players can do the moves MJ can do, but have they perfected the moves to the point where it amazes the human eye but its also money in the bank?Mj was smart, he’d take one move and add something with it(like the switch up in the air). I guess you could call MJ a combo guard, because he always had the talent to mix that second move with the first move that was invented. I hope this helps you understand what I’m trying to say. If not, this should shorten what I just wrote. Kobe is adopting what MIcheal Jordan perfected. Micheal Jordan took the moves of many great players and either mixed or perfected them to the point where they not only looked amazing, but at the same time they were unstoppable, and money and the bank.

  • Robert Womack

    And I actually meant it that way, Money and the bank, because those moves made Jordan $$$$$$$$$$$$$. Why do you think anything MJ sells is the SH!t? Because MJ defined what the game is suppose to be about. And lets not forget MJ could play defense also. I just compare Kobe’s offense to MJ’s Offense because truly Kobe’s defense can’t touch MJ’s. And another thing, people are talking about Kobe’s team is better then MJ’s team. False, whoever thinks that needs to be shot. This day in time, Kobe has a that Micheal Jordan team. Mj’s Bulls would destroy Kobe’s Lakers. Because the Bulls alway’s came to play, and they where no joke.
    I can’t beleive people actually think these Lakers could take the Bulls. Look the Celtics are a taste of what the Lakers would have to face if they took on the Bulls. And let’s not forget both the Celtics and Lakers played each other when one of there key players(bynum in finals for the Lakers and perkins in the past finals) was hurt. Did nobody see what the Celtics did to the Lakers? The Celtics beat the Lakers 4-2. Game 6 they beat the Lakers by 30 something points. The Lakers beat the Celtics 4-3. Game 7 they beat the Celtics by like 10 points? That isn’t revenge in my book, but a win is a win. If Kobe’s Lakers can’t really dominate a taste of what the Bulls will bring(The Celtics are that taste) how in the world will Kobe’s Lakers beat MJ’s Bulls? Oh yea, that would make a nice dream, but not in reality.

  • M5

    It is true that I am a Kobe fan, but you are short selling Kobe’s game by saying he is Jordan’s copy cat. Like you said Jordan was the teacher and kobe was the student, but at one time Jordan was the student, learning from others before him. It’s a cycle that is going to continue and progress, it didn’t just stop after Jordan. Kobe has taken from Jordan’s game and expanded on it just like Jordan did from others.

    And as far as the Lakers Vs Celtics series. In 2008 Bynum didn’t play a second in that Final and Trevor Ariza was returning from a broken foot, but in 2010 Perkins only missed game 7. He was able to contribute in six games, while Bynum never played a single second in that series.

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