Bryant is profiled in the latest issue of The New Yorker, where a talk about his career (which he said has been "pretty f---ing cool" thus far) landed on the subject of Miami Heat players rocking hoodies in a photo to honor Trayvon Martin.
LeBron James and his teammates took the picture back in May 2012, three months after 17-year-old Martin (who was wearing a hoodie at the time) was gunned down by George Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer. The image was one of many that supporters around the world posted on social media in protest of the way the case was initially handled.
According to an excerpt posted on ColorLines.com, Bryant's (delayed) response is that he doesn't agree with the Heat players' decision. He sees the show of solidarity as a race-based act and would never do anything similar. "I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” he said. “That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society?"
Bryant continues, "[If] we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.”
Added in the New Yorker feature is an opposing opinion to Bryant's viewpoint courtesy of ex-NFL player Jim Brown. The sports legend calls Bryant "confused about culture because he was brought up in another country,” making reference to the time he spent in Italy as a youngster.
Bryant reportedly hit back at Brown via Twitter. The 35-year-old wrote, “A ‘Global’ African American is an inferior shade to ‘American’ African American?? #hmmm. that doesn’t sound very #Mandela or #DrKing sir," before deleting the post.
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(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)