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Pics of Kobe Bryant and Australian Olympic Swimmer Stephanie Rice Causes Stir

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterAugust 9, 2012

Photo Credit: Stephanie Rice Instagram
Photo Credit: Stephanie Rice Instagram

Once a cheater, always a suspect for cheating. 

Kobe Bryant has some 'splaining to do after a couple harmless pictures have caused a not so harmless bout of accusations from other athletes, and it all has to do with a relationship he has with Stephanie Rice. 

Larry Brown Sports spots quite the stir after Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice took in events at the Velodrome with Kobe Bryant. 

Update: Thursday, August 9 at 6:15 p.m. ET 

Stephanie Rice has decided to end all the senseless debate. She tweeted this on Thursday.

FYI yes Kobe and I are friends, but no we are not together and never have been. Can't guys and (cont) tl.gd/iop9rn

— Stephanie Rice (@ItsStephRice) August 9, 2012

The tweet continues, via Larry Brown Sports

Can’t guys and girls be just friends..? He’s an amazing athlete and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him and many other great athletes in my Olympic journey.

Someone has never seen When Harry Met Sally

----end of update

Seems harmless, Kobe Bryant taking in a game with fellow Olympians. But there is more, oh, so much more. 

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Rice had previously tweeted this pic of her and Bryant.

First piccy with a "star" going to be hard to beat... Kobeinstagr.am/p/NS79bsEQSw/

— Stephanie Rice (@ItsStephRice) July 20, 2012

She was also present to see her own Australia take on the US Men's basketball team, via Larry Brown Sports

Where things get suspect is when other athletes chime in with their thoughts on the pair. Aussie basketball player Elizabeth Cambage had this to say on Twitter. 

She starts with questioning the company he keeps.

I love how Kobe has his wife with him at the Olympics, yet still surrounded by groupies!!!

— Elizabeth Cambage (@ecambage) August 8, 2012

Continued:

some women need to get a grip, ASAP!

— Elizabeth Cambage (@ecambage) August 8, 2012

And then she vows to swear off his sneakers.

LOL I'm even going to stop wearing Kobe's after this

— Elizabeth Cambage (@ecambage) August 8, 2012

Still, not more than one opinionated athlete tweeting away her thoughts. 

Then there is the case of Australian swimmer Craig Stevens who sounded off and confirmed what he believed to be a deeper relationship between Bryant and Rice, via radio show on Triple M 104.7.

"There's definitely something going on... I was on the last Olympic team and he was hanging us a fair bit at the different parties and whatnot," Stevens told Triple M.

"So Kobe was trying it on [with Stephanie Rice] four years ago, you reckon?" Triple M's Mark "MG" Geyer asked Stevens.

"I remember her telling the story [of] how he put it to her... that he had the family coming the next day but he had that night free,"

Stevens basically recounts a story from four years prior, when things were quite different in the Bryant household. 

I still have my doubts that there is anything more than friendship being exchanged between the two. Bryant has seemed extremely driven to make his marriage work since he was served divorce papers last December. 

The focus for him has been to keep the family together. 

He would have to be rather idiotic to think he could keep any relationship a secret at this point. So I take the claims of an athlete who heard something four years ago and another who chooses to merely opine on Twitter with a tremendous grain. 

Follow me on Twitter for more Olympic Glory. 

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