Kobe Bryant Says He Doesn't Have Any Real Friends in GQ Magazine Interview

Dan Carson@@DrCarson73Trending Lead WriterFebruary 17, 2015

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GQ magazine published a piece by Chuck Klosterman on Tuesday centering on Kobe Bryant and his transition from petulant teenager to double-lightsaber-wielding Sith Lord. 

It's a good read and well worth your time (Bryant compares himself to Mozart at one point), but if you have laundry that needs folding and animals that need to write their names in the snowbanks outside, here's an interesting morsel to tide you over: Bryant says he doesn't have any friends.

GQ Magazine

Speaking with the Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard prior to his season-ending rotator cuff injury, Klosterman asked if his obsessive qualities left any room for friendship in his life. 

Bryant's response amounts to a "Not really." He said he's the type of person who gets too caught up in The Work to maintain relationships with any consistency:

I have "like minds." You know, I've been fortunate to play in Los Angeles, where there are a lot of people like me. Actors. Musicians. Businessmen. Obsessives. People who feel like God put them on earth to do whatever it is that they do. Now, do we have time to build great relationships? Do we have time to build great friendships? No. Do we have time to socialize and to hangout aimlessly? No. Do we want to do that? No. We want to work. I enjoy working. 

Klosterman pressed further, asking if Bryant chooses to avoid friendship. Bryant responded by saying he's never been the type to play buddy-buddy:

Well, yes and no. I have friends. But being a "great friend" is something I will never be. I can be a "good" friend. But not a "great" friend. A great friend will call you every day and remember your birthday. I'll get so wrapped up in my s--t, I'll never remember that stuff. And the people who are my friends understand this, and they're usually the same way. You gravitate toward people who are like you. But the kind of relationships you see in movies—that's impossible for me. I have good relationships with players around the league. LeBron and I will text every now and then. KG and I will text every now and then. But in terms of having one of those great, bonding friendships—that's something I will probably never have. And it's not some smug thing. It's a weakness. ... It's not like I'm saying "I don't need friends because I'm so strong." It's a weakness.

So Bryant can be a friend—just not the kind who comes over with pizza and Pabst after the breakup.

Bryant goes on to explain that his lack of close friends stems from his childhood in Italy, which he spent moving from town to town, ostracized from the other kids who had grown up with each other. 

Clearly, Bryant appears aware that his friend-less claims could come off as self-mythologizing. He's spent much of the last decade constructing his eccentric, rogue-samurai carapace, making it difficult to separate lockjaw Kobe from human-who-feels-feelings-and-reserves-a-helicopter Kobe. At this point, Kobe could say he was born holding nunchucks atop a Tibetan mountain bluff, and it would jive with everything he appears determined to personify.

On the other hand, as someone who lived in six different states growing up, I lean toward believing Bryant. Wheedling into a new clique every two years is tough, and at some point, you learn to travel light.

Anyway, someone call Kobe and tell him it's not his fault. That may not be true, but he needs it.

Dan is on Twitter, where everyone is friends.

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