One of the most revered athletes in the history of professional sports is Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant. The five-time NBA champion has drawn comparisons to Michael Jordan, become the face of the NBA's most recognized organization and etched his name into the record books in countless ways.
Lately, Bryant has attempted to conquer a new platform—social media.
As of May 28, Bryant has more than 16 million fans on his personal Facebook page and upwards of 2.5 million followers of his official Twitter feed. Not only does this display the high-profile nature of his career, but just how desperate his fans are to read his thoughts and proverbs.
Anyone who follows Kobe on either platform knows he puts out a bit of both.
Facebook Kobe: Deep, Emotional and Respectful
Prior to giving into the temptation of 140 characters, Kobe Bryant was posting essays for Facebook statuses. Fortunately for the millions upon millions that have an undying for Bryant as an athlete and individual, it wasn't just endless banter.
Bryant always seems to have something emotional, inspirational or insightful to post on Facebook—more times than not, it's rather introspective.
Perhaps nothing was more powerful than the post that Kobe made after suffering a season-ending torn Achilles tendon. Not only did he assure fans that retirement was not an option, but he targeted an article that was written suggesting he could be done.
To paraphrase, Kobe's watching all of us.
If hatred is a source of motivation, maybe we should all start doubting Kobe—you know, as if he needs to get any better with his work ethic.
While the world seems to understand how grueling a process it will be for Bryant to return from a torn Achilles tendon, no one expected to walk along the road to recovery with him. Fortunately for those Kobe die-hards, he's presented that very opportunity via the use of social media.
Yet another facet of Facebook and Twitter that deserves more attention than the every day, "I'm eating pasta" updates.
Bryant later posted a photo of the surgery, but the image was gruesome enough for us to hold back on including in this article.
One of the better posts Kobe's made touches on the way time flies and we often fail to realize how many memories we're making. Bryant eloquently links that to the retirement of Baltimore Ravens great Ray Lewis, who went out by winning the Super Bowl.
Something tells us Bryant wants to follow in Lewis' footsteps by retiring with a sixth championship ring.
Who's going to tell the Black Mamba he can't get it?
When he's not looking back on the good ol' days, Kobe is predicting the future. That was never more evident than when Bryant made the selection that few analysts were able to pick correctly.
He correctly chose Kyrie Irving to win the 2013 three-point shootout.
Facebook Kobe is insightful, inspirational and able to see the future—perhaps his true calling really is to market the Kobe System.
Twitter Kobe: Speak Freely
On January 4, 2013, the Twittersphere was set ablaze, as one of the most powerful figures in professional sports created an account on the social media platform. It wasn't an owner, a retired athlete turned broadcaster or any other form of television personality.
It was the anti-social Kobe Bryant.
The antisocial has become social #mambatweets— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 4, 2013
Over 50,000 retweets for that.
Kobe has never been one to hold anything back, specifically when it comes to the media or his teammates. Now that he's on social media, Bryant has remained true to form, acknowledging what most have been afraid to touch upon.
The elephant in the room, if you will.
Will he stay? Will he go?
Something tells us Kobe's Twitter feed will keep us updated on the Dwight Howard saga.
When Kobe isn't speaking on his teammate's future, he's holding nothing back as he attacks the rumor creators and speculation spreaders. Perhaps nothing surprised Bryant as much as the recent rumors surrounding his potential retirement.
Kobe put an end to that talk via a tweet—because, you know, how else would he do it?
Social media rules the world.
The speculation has been entertaining, and even noteworthy for the way Kobe fails to care for the proper NBA etiquette when it comes to handling rumors. As he's always done, Bryant had no qualms about commenting on Howard's future as a free agent.
The same can be said about the way Kobe the Lakers' postseason games.
Gotta get to the block. See wat spurs r gonna do with pau and d12— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 21, 2013
Pau Gasol's No. 1 fan continues to demand the ball reaches him on the low block—and rightfully so.
As serious and constructive as Bryant can be, it's refreshing to see that he is in fact human. Not only does he watch the same games as you and I, but he feels the same emotions, battles the same insomnia and watches the same TV show.
Unless this is all just a ploy to cover up the fact that he's a machine that does not understand the concept of being sidelined by an injury.
I need to be entertained or I will just think of work non stop. Any shows, movies, books etc.. you can recommend?— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 20, 2013
It's worth noting that the first response was none other than Internet powerhouse Hulu—even they want Kobe's attention.
I'm sure some of you are on Hulu as you read this article.
Recently, Kobe has taken to Twitter to create an even closer relationship with his fans than he'd previously created. Not only is he sharing information about the Lakers, but Bryant is even asking for advice when it comes to significant personal decisions.
You know, like what tattoo he should be getting.
Say what you will, but the fact that a fan can interact with their favorite basketball player and help them select a tattoo is a luxury that no generation was able to provide in the past.