It has been a long road back to gaining endorsements for Kobe Bryant. After his now infamous trial in Colorado, Bryant took a PR hit that dropped his marketability somewhere between Tom Sizemore and any L.A. Clipper not named Blake Griffin. Slowly but surely as timed passed Bryant began to gain the favor of companies looking to attach their brand to the best baller on the planet.
Ever the center of controversy throughout his playing career, Bryant seems to stir the pot no matter what he does.
Earlier this year Bryant caught the ire of many for donning a sidearm in a commercial for the latest installment of Call of Duty. Now, he’s in the middle of a cultural feud thanks to a new deal with Turkish Airlines.
Bryant is getting plenty of flack from the Armenian public due to his allegiance with Turkish Airlines. Without getting into too much detail, the heart of the matter relates to an on-going quest to have the death of some 1.5-million Armenians at the hands of the Turks recognized as genocide.
Politics aside, any tragedy in which the entire population of the San Fernando Valley is wiped of the face of the Earth is horrific. Some ethnic groups have championed to have similar tragedies recognized and rightfully so. The heart of mankind is truly a dark region where tragedy has become a part of daily existence.
With all that being said, KB24 has no obligation to any group regardless of their undying support for him. The only people Bryant owes anything to are his family, his employer and friends, in that order. I’m not advocating for Kobe to be brashly selfish and ignore social issues but this is a very slippery slope. At what point do we draw the line? How many factors must be considered for something as trivial as an endorsement deal?
Now, had Bryant gone in front of a microphone and flat out denied the Armenian genocide occurred prior to announcing the deal then I’d have a problem. However, the man is just trying to earn a few bucks. I’m sure if you did enough digging you’d find that every company has unsavory ties (Nike anyone?). The basic problem is that there is a large Armenian population here in Los Angeles of which many are Laker fans. Thus you can see the nature of the issue.
For Bryant this is just another chapter in his drama filled career. For many others it represents so much more. For now, I’d just advise Kobe to stay out of Glendale until he does something to show his actions have unintentionally set off another firestorm.