Kobe Bryant surprised a group of about 300 high school students at WE RISE—a 10 day pop-up festival of art and community-building dedicated to sparking a movement for change in the mental health system—in Downtown Los Angeles yesterday.
Bryant spoke about several important topics including mental health, sharing personal stories about the ways he deals with feelings of insecurity and negativity, recalling how he felt as an 18 year-old in his first NBA playoffs with the Lakers and shooting “6-7 air balls in front of millions of people.”
During the event, Kobe was asked by Kaya, a 14-year-old BlackSportsOnline.com junior reporter, for his take on Kanye’s remarks that slavery “sounds like a choice”. KB like most people, myself included, was shocked by the rapper’s comments and completely disagrees:
“I’m sure the same way everybody else here in this room feels . What the hell are you talking about? I think that was my reaction as is everybody else’s reaction….The thing about our country is that you have the right to say whatever it is that you want to say…that’s the beautiful thing about living in a democracy. I think, for him, he’s one of these entertainers that’s always in a constant state of growth, he’s always challenging … himself, doing a lot of questioning internally himself…so I just take it for what it is and completely disagree.”
The Black Mamba also had this to say about fear and mental health:
“It’s easy for us as people to kind of ignore the emotional side of it, especially when it comes to things that deal with negativity, things that deal with insecurity, things that deal with fear. It’s very easy to take the fear and just push it down, try to act like it doesn’t exist. The reason why it starts with imagination is because you first must imagine the life that you want to have. You must first imagine what it is you dream of becoming.”