Kobe Bryant resisted the social media plunge for as long as he could. But on Jan. 4, 2013, the Mamba dove into Twitter. Instagram and Vine accounts would eventually follow, and it turned out that Bryant was among the most honest, interesting, funny and flat-out real presences on the web.
The antisocial has become social #mambatweets— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 4, 2013
The antisocial fully committed to being social, and we've all been better for it. As if Bryant would ever have done anything halfway.
The mamba vs d12 !! It's on lol pic.twitter.com/cZQO5Avf— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 7, 2013
It was all fun and games (and a little bit of damage control) when Bryant tweeted out a staged throwdown between him and Dwight Howard on Jan. 7. It turned out that Bryant was already savvy enough to use his new Twitter account to predict the future.
Then, Kobe creeped out every Los Angeles Lakers fan beyond belief by sharing a picture that seemed to come from an alternate universe. Kobe on the Celtics? I think I need to sit down; the room is spinning.
Bryant really hit his stride when he realized that social media is a terrific place to employ snarky responses to imagined slights. When Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban talked about a hypothetical situation in which the Lakers might consider amnestying No. 24, the result was predictable: Bryant lit up the Mavs and fired off one of the season's most iconic tweets.
Amnesty THAT— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) February 24, 2013
Then came the invention of Bryant's latest nickname.
Omg . My man just gave me a new nickname and I love it! Ha #vino— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 1, 2013
Yet another step in the evolution of Kobe's Twitter use was when he used it to complain (somewhat rightfully) about Dahntay Jones' dubious undercut that resulted in a badly sprained ankle for Bryant. Also, it's clear that Kobe's hashtag use was lacking in subtlety.
#dangerousplay that should have been called. Period.— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 14, 2013
A big moment here, as Bryant moved past Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time scoring list. He tweeted a picture of the game ball and his kicks to commemorate the occasion.
Pretty cool, right?
Things took a somber turn on April 13, 2013, when Bryant tore his Achilles in a game against the Golden State Warriors. He was devastated, and gave an in-the-moment reaction to his followers.
And then he hopped on Facebook, clearly unsatisfied with 140 characters of self-expression. The result was weird, poignant, unfiltered and oddly refreshing. Bryant was human after all—plagued by doubts, emotional and ultimately, defiant.
This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I've done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen ?!? Makes no damn sense. Now I'm supposed to come back from this and be the same player Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that?? I have NO CLUE.
Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was. Maybe this is how my book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me...
Then again maybe not! It's 3:30am, my foot feels like dead weight, my head is spinning from the pain meds and I'm wide awake. Forgive my Venting but what's the purpose of social media if I won't bring it to you Real No Image?? Feels good to vent, let it out. To feel as if THIS is the WORST thing EVER! Because After ALL the venting, a real perspective sets in.
There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn achilles. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever.
One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day.
"If you see me in a fight with a bear, prey for the bear". Ive always loved that quote. Thats "mamba mentality" we don't quit, we don't cower, we don't run. We endure and conquer.
I know it's a long post but I'm Facebook Venting LOL.
Maybe now I can actually get some sleep and be excited for surgery tomorrow. First step of a new challenge. Guess I will be Coach Vino the rest of this season. I have faith in my teammates. They will come thru.
Thank you for all your prayers and support. Much Love Always.
Kobe's Instagram usage picked up once he was sidelined. We got a guided tour of his MRI for starters.
And then came visual confirmation of something we all already knew: Pau Gasol is probably the best human being on the planet.
Of course, Kobe wouldn't be Kobe if he hadn't offered some critical, unsolicited advice to Gasol during an April 21 playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs.
What I would say if I was there right now? "Pau get ur ass on the block and don't move till u get it" #realtalk— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 21, 2013
Nike made Bryant feel all warm and fuzzy with a full-page spread that same day.
On April 29, Kobe showed that sometimes, social media can actually mean something. His support of Jason Collins' announcement was sincere.
The stitches came out on April 30.
A month later, we got a blurry look at Bryant's "medical mamba" recovery shoes. Also, he revealed that he does most of his cardio work in a gym from the future.
On July 5, Bryant knew that Howard was set to split town. That meant No. 24 would have to make his next title run with his old buddy.
Same as it ever was.
Kobe was somewhat diplomatic a few days later, tweeting his thoughts on Howard's departure on July 8, 2013.
I wish d12 the best honestly. I just find it hard to follow players that wanna kick my teams ass #thatsjustme— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) July 9, 2013
After some pretty boring stuff from Bryant's trip to China (nobody wants to see lame pictures of somebody else's vacation—it's a scientific fact), he made a splash with his very first entry on Vine.
See what I did there?
It's hard to say what Bryant will do next, but we can certainly count on more snapshots of his recovery, some real talk and possibly some alligator wrestling. Hey, he's got to up the ante after that high dive.
Thanks for the (recent) memories, Kobe. We look forward to more.