Lisa Leslie sat down with Gayle King to remember her close friend, Kobe Bryant. She assured that his legacy is “not complicated” to her because of his 2003 rape allegations.
The WNBA legend said the media media “should be more respectful” and not resurface the case in wake of his fatal helicopter crash on January 26th.
“It’s like if you had questions about it, you had many years to ask him that,” Leslie said Tuesday on CBS This Morning. “I don’t think it’s something that we should keep hanging over his legacy.”
Bryant was charged with sexual assault after a 19-year-old woman accused him of rape. The charges were eventually dropped because the accuser refused to testify. They later reached a settlement outside of court and Kobe issued a public apology to the woman.
“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not,” he said. Leslie made it clear that this controversy doesn’t change how she feels about her beloved friend.
“That’s just not the person that I know,” Leslie told the morning show. She knew Kobe Bryant since he was 18-years-old and says he wasn’t the “kind of person that would do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way.”
“Even if there’s a few times that we’ve been at a club at the same time, Kobe’s not the kind of guy, never been, like, ‘Lis, go get that girl, or tell her, or send her this,’” Leslie said. “I have other NBA friends that are like that. Kobe, he was never like that.”
Many people applauded Leslie for riding for her friend. Lil Duval accused Gayle of having a “personal agenda.”
Kobe Bryant died with eight other passengers on the helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. There have been countless tributes to the late legend and his Mambacita all over the world.
Check out this mural that was painted right across the street from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.