When I brought up LeBron James posting online a photo of the Heat players dressed in hoodies, with their heads bowed, in solidarity with Trayvon Martin, as political expression, Bryant seemed nonplussed. "I won't react to something just because I'm supposed to, because I'm African-American," he said. "That argument doesn't make sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and as 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? Well, if we've progressed as a society, then you 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."
March 31, 2014
"There's a bigger issue in terms of being an African-American athlete, and the box people try to put you in..."
"And it's always a struggle to step outside of that," says Kobe Bryant, in the excellent (but subscription-only) New Yorker article titled "The Fourth Quarter, Kobe Bryant confronts a long—and possibly painful—goodbye." The article is by Ben McGrath, who continues in this paragraph (on page 45 of a piece that goes from 38 to 49):