Skip to main content

“You just felt like he was on edge.” — how the Colorado incident changed Kobe Bryant's attitude towards the public

Privacy became such a priority that even Kobe's bodyguards started using aliases.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant at press conference to discuss sexual assault allegations

Kobe Bryant

The 2003 sexual assault allegation in Colorado is one of the darkest chapters of Kobe Bryant’s life. From being on top of the world having just won three NBA titles, almost everything came crumbling down for Kobe. People’s perception of Bryant wasn’t the only thing that changed. Kobe’s attitude to strangers transformed as well. So much so that he had to put his guard up, especially to people from the media.

Bodyguards had aliases

In the book “Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant” by Roland Lazenby, journalist Ric Bucher related how he saw Bryant change after the Colorado episode. Bucher recalled he would hang out at Bryant’s hotel room before games, where they would chat and chill. Bucher’s easy access to Kobe was scrapped after the drama in Colorado. He now had to go through multiple layers of security before seeing the Lakers guard.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

“Before, Bryant had used a password to allow approved callers access to his hotel phone line. After Colorado, Bucher found that even Bryant’s bodyguards now had aliases. He had to contact them first in hopes of trying to get through to Bryant,”

Roland Lazenby, Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant

Once Bucher finally reached Kobe, he noticed that a carefree conversation was a thing of the past. Two guards were in the same room as them. Bucher could no longer hang out for as long as he wanted. Bryant was no longer his cordial self.

Kobe’s guard was way up

A guy had to walk me up to his room,” Bucher recalled, adding that two security guards stood in Bryant’s room the whole time they conversed. “We talked for, like, twenty minutes. He sat on the couch. I sat across from him, and it was, like, high tension. You just felt like he was on edge. I knew it didn’t have anything to do with me personally, but it felt like he was that way with everybody. He put everybody at arm’s length. It was hard to get a hold of him, it was hard to talk to him. It was hard to get his opinion or thought on anything. He was more guarded than he’d ever been.

Bryant kept his guard up not just with the media but also everywhere he went. Upon arrival at Caron Butler’s family home for dinner, Bryant told everyone to get out of the house for a security check. Butler was weirded out since it’s his residence after all. But he knew it was a necessity, given what Bryant had just gone through. He knew the Lakers icon was playing it safe.

The Colorado incident definitely changed how Bryant dealt with the public as a basketball star. Only at the end of his career did we see the old Bryant return - open, and willing to share his basketball wisdom and experience. 

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, guard Jrue Holiday, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks to host youth programs as part of the NBA Abu Dhabi Games

Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks will be the first NBA teams to play in Abu Dhabi

Phoenix Suns' forward Jae Crowder defending Chicago Bulls' star DeMar DeRozan

Can the Chicago Bulls make a trade for disgruntled Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder?

Find out if the Chicago Bulls can acquire disgruntled Phoenix Suns small forward, Jae Crowder.

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan with Lonzo Ball

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan bracing for the entire season without Lonzo Ball

The Bulls are preparing themselves to be competitive while they wait on the health of starting guard Lonzo Ball. Here's what their head coach had to say about the matter.

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd

"You can't say, 'This is the way I would do it'" — Jason Kidd explains why he never forced his players to emulate his playing style

Kidd's experience on the Lakers coaching staff has proven to be extrememly valuable in his evolution as a coach.

Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon

Greg Anthony singles out the most underrated part of Hakeem Olajuwon's on-court skillset

Everyone praises Hakeem's footwork. Greg Anthony praised his God-given instincts for the game.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham and general manager Rob Pelinka

How the Los Angeles Lakers could take advantage of the NBA's new rule

The new NBA rule could benefit the Lakers if they implement a run-and-gun system.

North Carolina Tar Heels guard Michael Jordan

“No one knew me until then” — Michael Jordan revealed the most satisfying time of his basketball career

Michael Jordan will never forget his time in North Carolina because of the pressure he had to conquer to make a name for himself.