If there's a sports-figure public relations handbook young media wonks are given, there should be a chapter on the rebirth of Kobe Bryant.
Five years after committing adultery and being accused of sexual assault by a hotel employee (and settling out of court), Kobe Bryant has the public eating out of his hands.
And all it took was the power of YouTube and a solid marketing campaign.
He jumps over an Aston Martin in the name of selling shoes.
We fall in love all over again...
Then TNT gets a hold of it and the laughs ensue.
...We realize we never stopped loving him...
Then Jackass gets a hold of it and more laughs ensue (Weeman, LOL).
...We tell him he had us at "Black Mamba."
Of course, this is all icing on Kobe's rejuvenation cake. It would be all for naught had he not completely alterered his game in the name of the team and winning a title.
He trusted his teammates, he gave up taking the lost shot (everynight), and he simply became an affable feller. It's like he came out of a Sydney Pollack movie.
That's what makes this so impressive. The man changed. He became slightly better at age 29 and in doing so, won back not just his on-court critics, but his off-court critics (there's an argument that the latter was the tougher).
What's most impressive is, this all happened after an offseason of repeated trade rumors started by Kobe's camp. Now the conversations are about how to keep the Kobe-Pau-Lamar dynasty-in-the-making going for the long haul.
So young sports PR execs take note. Your client can be as bad as he wants to be, just be sure to harnass the power of YouTube, TNT, MTV and your local Aston Martin dealership.
With a dash of charisma and selflessness, those ingredients can make us all forget why we stopped loving in the first place.
On to the best blogs ... around!
Who is Augie Freeze and what did he have to do with the Reds in 1961? The Big Red Machine breaks a magical pennant race down.
The Spurs are down 3-1 and who is Blurbs from the Penalty Box placing blame on? His initials are BB and his last name rhymes with scary, hairy, Larry, Carrie, marry, Terry and dysentery.
With gas prices soaring Nats general manager Jim Bowden has a toxic observation about flying to scout ballplayers in Scott Miller's Bull Pennings.
MLB is coming down on little league teams using copyrighted team names. BigPapiandManny's 3-4 Punch is pissed off, and has three solid alternatives. Well, telling MLB to eff off is probably not an "alternative."
Klick of the Day
I'm as surprised as anybody Kobe's made so much public progress despite this "performance" with Tyra Banks.