Kobe Bryant; The Great American Hero?

Psalm 52

5 God shall likewise destroy you (evil man) forever;
He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place,
And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
The righteous also shall see and fear,
And shall laugh at him, saying,
“Here is the man who did not make God his strength,
But trusted in the abundance of his riches,
And strengthened himself in his wickedness.”

It is amazing to me the adulatory craze that is being lifted for Kobe Bryant. Now, granted, sudden deaths of anybody on the younger side of life is a sad event. However, it is not healthy for a culture to mourn the wicked except as the mourning represents a sadness that someone has gone into eternity apart from knowing Christ. If we, as Christians, were to take Psalm 52 seriously we might well be laughing at the news of Mr. Bryant’s death. However, here the Psalmist and Scripture is clearly counter-intuitive to our modern sensibilities.

Lets keep in mind that while Mr. Bryant as an athlete excelled on the Basketball court he was hardly a role model by any standard. His own wife accused him of multiple illicit liaisons with women not her. There was also the well known rape allegations against Mr. Bryant which, while not pursued in criminal court, did result in a settlement as a result of civil action by the Colorado woman assaulted. Let’s remember the description given of this violence,

When asked about bruises on the accuser’s neck, Bryant admitted to “strangling” her during the encounter, stating that he held her “from the back” “around her neck”, that strangling during sex was his “thing” and that he had a pattern of strangling a different sex partner (not his wife) during their recurring sexual encounters. When asked how hard he was holding onto her neck, Bryant stated, “My hands are strong. I don’t know.”

This wasn’t a comparatively polite”date rape.” This was gorilla violence in the extreme as a perusal of the account will explain in detail. Let’s be polite and just say it was a few weeks before the victim could sit comfortably for very long.

They used to call Mr. Bryant’s pursuit of multiple paramours “whore-mongering,” but that is no longer polite.

Now, some will object to my mentioning these realities on a few counts. First some will object that “none of us should want to be remembered when we die for our sins,” and, on the whole, all things being equal, who could ever disagree with that? I know I don’t want to be remembered for my sins in life — secret or public.

But not all things are equal here. What is happening via the adulation is that a serial adulterer and rapist is being elevated to some kind of secular saintly status. I object to that strenuously. My objection is augmented by the fact that those media trollops who are spilling all the adulatory ink attempting to elevate Mr. Bryant into a Cardinal in the church are the same media trollops who went apoplectic upon hearing a decades old tape of Trump talking about grabbing females by their femininity! (Kudos to Lea Land for that last sentence.)

Let’s keep in mind, concerning the objection that protests, “none of us should want to be remembered when we die for our sins.”

1.) Kobe if he was Christian was Roman Catholic — ergo not Christian.

2.) If he was repentant I wouldn’t note what is noted above but as lots of rapists die daily I don’t get the adulation of this rapist apart from acknowledging his crime.

3.) If Stalin had confessed Christ after all his mass murders would that mean upon his death it would be unseemly to mention his mass murders — especially if praise was the sound going up upon the news of Stalin’s death?

4.) The guy excelled at putting pigskin as inflated through a circle. He’s a hero for that reason?

I would rather not be remembered for my sin either … UNLESS, the adulation upon my death (I know … unlikely) was so great Christ gets lost in the adulation.

A second objection is that “now is not the time for theological reflections, but rather for allowing people to grieve and to process the death.”

I just disagree that there is ever a time that isn’t proper for theological reflections. The time to stop misdirected adulation is when the adulation is happening. Again, as I said earlier. One can admit that there is always a certain sadness in death. Further, one can acknowledge that such sudden death bring us all face to face with our own mortality. (I suspect a good deal of the public grieving might be connected to this.) However, these realities must not stop us from suggesting, with whatever tenderness and winsomeness we can that it is not proper to praise the wicked dead.

A third objection is that, in terms of the rape case, the female involved was just asking for it and she got what she deserved. Allow me to concede that women can be flirts and that kind of flirtation can lead to all kinds of bad things. However, having said that, even a loose woman who flirts can be raped and at the end of it all rape is rape.

Now, I can hear through the screen, people yelling at me saying the only reason I’m going on and on about this is that I am a racist. On that score, all I can offer is that I would be typing the very same thing if the athlete in question had been named Ben Roethlisberger instead of Kobe Bryant.

Our heroes are a reflection of our culture. Mr. Bryant was no hero.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

8 thoughts on “Kobe Bryant; The Great American Hero?”

  1. Hard words for a hardhearted world. We want to excuse the crimes and sins of our idols, and enlarge that crimes and sins of our enemies. Do you think all of the praise is an attempt to suppress the natural fear we feel at knowing that someone whom we considered larger than life now stands before the throne of the One who holds the balance of life in His hands?

    1. It’s a good question. I was thinking since I wrote this that what is happening with KB also happened when Princess Diana died in that putative car wreck. Maybe it has something to do with their relative youth, the suddenness of it all and its “this didn’t need to happen” quality. Maybe it forced people to consider their own mortality as combined with learning anew that life is but a vapor? It is an odd phenomenon that I don’t completely understand.

  2. Bret, it comes down to what you choose to emphasize.

    Lower down, you have a post in which you glorify European culture. Someone not as enamored of European culture could reach the polar opposite conclusion by citing to the slave trade, the genocide perpetrated in the New World, the economic exploitation of the colonies, and the rampant anti-Semitism. So, is European culture a good thing, or a bad thing? Well, you emphasize the good stuff; others emphasize the bad stuff; there’s probably some truth on both sides. And, both sides then minimize data that doesn’t support their conclusion.

    Was Kobe Bryant a good man or an evil man? It depends on what you emphasize. If you want to say he was an evil man, you write the column that you just did. On the other hand, if you want to say he was a good man, you point to his charitable work, his love of his children, his inspiration to others to climb out of poverty, and his powerful work ethic. The data is there to support either conclusion.

    Good people and bad people exist in the movies. In real life, all of us are a bit more complicated.

    The older I get, the less judgmental I become. Partly because I see all the stuff I’ve screwed up in my own life, and partly because I’ve come to realize that humans are what they are. And to answer your question, the outpouring of grief that you see is nothing more than a reflection that someone who still had much to contribute was taken too early. It’s kind of like the grief one feels at the Notre Dame Cathedral fire: A treasure is no longer here.

    Maybe you could try cutting people some slack. The Jesus you claim to serve certainly did. He could have berated the woman at the well for having five husbands; he didn’t. He could have refused to associate with Mary Magdalene because of her profession; he didn’t do that either. He just loved them.

    1. What Mike has given us here looks like the mask that is called cultural relativism. People are all good and bad, therefore we cannot and so should not make any conclusions when it comes to people’s lives. By all accounts Stalin loved his mother, was a great guest at champagne parties, and actually listened to his daughter Svetlana once and removed someone from a kill list. As such who are we to characterize Stalin as an evil man?

      The bad qualities of Kobe are not that he was occasionally rude, stubborn, or bad-mannered. No, we are talking about whoremongering and VIOLENT rape. Does being a philanthropist make up for one’s taste for unsolicited and unapproved violent rape? You speak of “his love for his children.” In what world does love for one’s children mean cheating on their mother regularly and routinely? Odd love that.

      Another thing we should note about Mike is that he has bought the false narrative on the slave trade and the myth of the Christian white man genociding peoples.

      Cut someone slack? Absolutely. When I meet the repentant like the woman at the well, or a Mary Magdalene its slack all the way down. When it is a matter of trying to make a hero out of a whoremonger and rapists … well, then it is slack the same way slack our Lord Christ gave to His enemies.

      After reading Galatians, I always think that Paul should have given some slack to the Judaizers.

      It is true that we are all sinners (and me no less than anyone else) however that does not mean that therefore we who are redeemed sinners need to cease pointing out cultural madness.

      Thanks for participating Mike. We go on from here disagreeing. In the future it would be good of you to quit being so judgmental of my judgments.

      Seeking to make righteous judgments, (John 7:24)


      p.s. — We have some stuff in common Mike. I enjoy reading. I like the Monkees (did you like Smashmouth’s remake of “I’m a Believer?”) and I was a big fan of Kolchak in the day.

  3. No, it’s not cultural relativism. The white man owes nobody any apologies for abolishing suttee in India or foot binding in China. At the same time, the white man had his own institutions that were just as bad as suttee and foot binding. I have not said that judgments are a bad thing; rather, that I disagree with the premise of yours. In other words, we agree that relativism is silly and that there is such a thing as standards of right and wrong; our disagreement is in what that standard is. And it takes a considerable amount of historical illiteracy to deny that white European culture did a lot of things that were just plain evil.

    I would also say that while evil exists, stupidity is far more prevalent. Kobe’s sleeping around came from the erroneous notion that it would make him happy (and it probably did, at least temporarily). There aren’t that many Richard IIIs in the world. Recall that at the beginning of the play, Richard III gives a speech to the audience in which he candidly admits to being a vile, despicable SOB. Well, he’s unusual in that regard. Most evil is done out of the best of intentions; read Mein Kampf if you don’t believe me. So I would say that deeds are evil, even if the people performing them are merely stupid.

    And by the way, since you are a Calvinist, we also agree on the issue of free will. I don’t believe in it. I don’t think Stalin had any choice about being Stalin; see Romans 9. Just like a rattlesnake has no choice about being a rattlesnake. Which is why we protect ourselves from rattlesnakes, killing them if necessary, but we don’t assign moral culpability to the fact that it’s a snake. It didn’t ask to be.

    So again, it depends entirely on which data you want to look at. If I looked at your life under a microscope, I could make you out to be a saint or a monster, depending on which facts I chose to emphasize. As you could with me. That means we’re human.

    I loved Smashmouth’s remake, and I have a complete set of Kolchak DVDs. I’m married to someone who considers them both to be insipid nonsense. Oh well, not everyone can have good taste I suppose. Should I be flattered that you took the trouble to find out that I like them?

    1. Thank you Mike for the conversation. Of course I strenuously disagree with you but other people being wrong to my being right is what makes the world go around.

      I do not affirm that European culture was perfect. For example, I think the World Wars of the 20th century were monumentally wicked with white Europeans killing each other. I think men like Woodrow Wilson Col. Edwin House, Sir Edward Grey, Alfred Milner and many others will be at the deepest level of hell. I do not agree that the West was somehow uniquely guilty in the slave trade. Every race and ethnicity has practiced slavery with the Arab Muslims perhaps exceeding all in cruelty. The Aztec slaughtered 10s of thousands for centuries and enslaved 100’000’s more in Mexico City. Now that sounds like genocide in the “New World.” Then there was the Zulu and other tribes that wiped other groups off the map? American Lakota wiped out quite a few tribes before whites showed up. And of course there is the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel.

      None of this justifies European civilization where it went errant of course, but when we look at European civilization in light of other civilizations animated by religions that weren’t Christian obviously in this regard the West is far superior.

      Of course, evil deeds cannot be done except by evil people. Scripture clearly teaches that;

      Job 15:35
      They conceive trouble and give birth to evil;

      This forces me to conclude that it is not stupidity that leads to evil so much as man’s sin nature. A sin nature that can only be dealt with by those who have been filled with the Holy Spirit.

      You bring up the issue of free will. I’m glad we agree that it doesn’t exist EXCEPT as a secondary reality. All because me do not have libertarian free will does not mean that men are not culpable and responsible for their behavior. My lack of libertarian free will does not allow me to slough off my sin and say, “Well, I couldn’t help it.” We are not free in an absolute sense but we are responsible because God says we are responsible.

      I still think you are involved in a kind of relativism when you say,

      So again, it depends entirely on which data you want to look at. If I looked at your life under a microscope, I could make you out to be a saint or a monster, depending on which facts I chose to emphasize. As you could with me. That means we’re human.

      Maybe it’s not cultural relativism. Maybe it is historical relativism. Whichever it is you are suggesting that there is no standard by which men can be measured. I am saying there is a standard and that standard is the Word of God (Bible) and by God’s Word I can stand by what I have written regarding Mr. Bryant. Similarly, on the other end, I can say that Eric Liddel (He of olympic sprinting fame) was a man to be admired.

      In the end however, what counts is not primarily our deeds but rather or not we have trusted Jesus Christ as the one who bears our sins away and forgives us so that none of us have to bear the just wrath of God for our sins.

      It wasn’t too difficult to find out that I’m talking to an eminent journalist. You left your name and business. I like to know who I’m talking to so I can modulate my voice accordingly.



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