Kobe shows Tiger path to redemption - winning
That didn’t stop a reporter from trying on the eve of the first anniversary of the Tiger Woods scandal to find out how Bryant thought he was able to overcome his own scandal and regain his stature as a superstar in demand by fans around the NBA.
“I’m not answering that question,” Bryant said earlier this month in Denver.
Nothing new there. Bryant has never talked publicly about what happened between himself and a teenage hotel worker that night, though he did have his attorney read a statement in which he apologized to the woman for his behavior.
While Woods continues to struggle to define his scandal, Bryant for the most part seems to have successfully put his behind him even if the allegations against him were more serious. The sexual assault charges were dropped, he paid to settle a civil suit brought by the alleged victim and both sides have kept quiet ever since.
As a strategy, it seems to be working. His image has recovered enough that he earns millions of dollars a year in endorsement deals and his jersey is a top seller not only at home but in Europe and China.
That may be largely because Bryant found a way to do something Woods has yet to do – keep on winning.
“Kobe went back onto the court and returned to his all-star status. He brought back the legions of basketball fans first,” said Michael Kempner, president of MWW Group public relations in East Rutherford, N.J. “Tiger hasn’t, and in many ways people are reveling in his mediocrity.”
Adding two more titles to his haul since the charges in Colorado has paid off nicely for Bryant. He signed a contract extension in April worth nearly $90 million over three years to become the highest paid player in the NBA, and Forbes magazine estimated that his total annual earnings come close to $50 million when endorsements are figured in.
“Yes, Kobe Bryant had an incident,” said Ronn Torossian, president of 5W Public Relations in New York. “But the incident didn’t define Kobe Bryant. He has recovered, just like many others have recovered.”
Indeed, the mention of his name is no longer followed by talk about the charges. If anything, discussion now revolves around whether he may one day be regarded as the greatest player in the game.
“It’s unbelievable if you think back to that time because the allegations were far more serious than the ones facing Tiger,” said Ralph Cindrich, a sports attorney and agent in Pittsburgh. “Kobe is an example of what can happen if someone comes back, conducts himself properly and says the right things.”
It’s a template some think Woods might want to follow as he tries to put a sex scandal of his own behind him a year after his private escapades were revealed. There is one difference: Bad as they were, the accusations against Bryant came from one woman. Woods is now a divorced man because of numerous reports of serial cheating.
In Bryant’s case, his attorney read the following statement on his client’s behalf:
“I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year. Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.”
Bryant immediately returned to basketball – and winning.
Woods relayed his regrets in a globally televised message: “I want to say to each of you, simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in. …”
As for winning, it hasn’t happened.
“It all starts with winning and the popularity goes from there,” Cindrich said. “It’s the same way with a Michael Vick or a Ben Roethlisberger. People tend to forgive and forget when they win.”
Once one of the NFL’s biggest and highest paid stars, Vick was broke, reviled and his career was in ruins after he served 18 months in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring.
Now he’s on top again, quarterbacking for the Philadelphia Eagles, and could become perhaps the biggest free agent on the market next year.
Roethlisberger returned to the Steelers on Oct. 17 following a four-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He was accused of, but not charged with, sexually assaulting a Georgia college student in March. Since his return, the Steelers are 4-2 (7-3 overall), including losses to two of the best teams in the league – New England and New Orleans.
Woods and Bryant went to dinner in Orlando last year before the golfer’s scandal broke, with Bryant reportedly trying to find out how Woods handled life in a fishbowl.
Someday they may have even more in common if Woods can regain his dominance on the golf course.
“I think America loves to build stars, knock stars down a little bit and then build them back up,” said David Schwab, a vice president at Octagon who specializes in offering celebrity strategy for brands. “You certainly saw that with Kobe.”
2018 NCAA Golf Championships TV Schedule
Golf Channel will shine a spotlight on college golf across the next two weeks at the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf National Championships. With more than 60 hours of live tournament and news coverage on-site from Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater Oklahoma (Monday-Wednesday May 21-23 and May 28-30), Golf Channel’s coverage connects 18 straight days of live tournament golf.
Watch live coverage of the NCAA Golf Championships beginning Monday, May 21 at 4pm ET on Golf Channel and streaming.
Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)
Monday, May 21: Individual National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)
Tuesday, May 22:Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)
Tuesday, May 22: Semifinals, Team Match Play 4-8 p.m. (Live)
Wednesday, May 23:Team Match Play National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)
Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)
Monday, May 28: Individual National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)
Tuesday, May 29: Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)
Tuesday, May 29: Semifinals, Team Match Play 4-8 p.m. (Live)
Wednesday, May 30: Team Match Play National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)
AT&T Byron Nelson purse payout: Wise a millionaire
PGA Tour rookie Aaron Wise earned his first Tour title on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out at Trinity Forest:
|T9||Charles Howell III||-15||$207,900|
Howell, Uihlein qualify for U.S. Open via OWGR
Charles Howell III and Peter Uihlein both used strong play at the AT&T Byron Nelson to maintain their positions inside the top 60 in the latest Official World Golf Ranking, thereby ensuring exemptions to next month's U.S. Open.
Howell moved up three spots to No. 56 in the world thanks to a T-9 finish at Trinity Forest. He'll make his 10th career U.S. Open appearance, but just his second since 2009. Howell missed the cut at Olympic in 2012.
Uihlein finished T-21 in Dallas, which was barely enough to hold onto a top-60 spot as he actually fell two positions to No. 59. The former U.S. Amateur champ will make his third U.S. Open appearance and second in as many years.
The drama for the final spot came down to the wire on Sunday, where Adam Scott's bid to unseat Chesson Hadley at No. 60 came up just short. Needing a solo ninth-place finish, Scott ended up in a three-way tie for ninth to begin the new week at No. 61. Hadley, who didn't play the Nelson, remained No. 60 and will make his U.S. Open debut.
Others to punch tickets to Shinnecock Hills include No. 52 Luke List, No. 53 Chez Reavie and No. 57 Dylan Frittelli. A second and final top-60 cutoff will be done based off the June 11 world rankings following the FedEx St. Jude Classic, with U.S. Open sectional qualifying conducted in England and the U.S. on June 4.
The only change among the top 10 in the rankings this week came at No. 10, where Paul Casey moved past Tommy Fleetwood despite an off week for both players. Justin Thomas remains world No. 1 for a second week, followed by Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose. Rickie Fowler remains No. 6, with Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama and Casey rounding out the top 10.
Taking the week off following a T-11 finish at The Players Championship, Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 82.
After Further Review: Nelson lost in the shuffle?
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the Nelson's future ...
If the goal was “different” by bringing the AT&T Byron Nelson to Trinity Forest, consider it achieved. But bringing a world-class field south of Dallas could still be tricky.
Yes, the tournament can always rely on local resident and AT&T spokesman Jordan Spieth to throw his hat in the ring. But even with Spieth strolling the fairways this week, the field strength was among the worst all season for a full-point event.
The debut of the sprawling, links-like layout likely did little to sway the undecideds, with only the third round offering the challenging conditions that course co-designer Ben Crenshaw had envisioned. And the schedule won’t do them any favors next year, as a revamped itinerary likely puts the Nelson right before the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
The course will inevitably get better with age, and Spieth expects positive word of mouth to spread. But it might be a while before the stars truly align for an event that, for the moment, feels lost in the shuffle of a hectic schedule. – Will Gray
On Jordan Spieth's putting ...
Jordan Spieth’s putting is plainly bad right now, but it isn’t going to stay this bad forever.
He is the second ranked player on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, just like he was last year. This putting slump has lingered, but it’s unfathomable to think this guy just forgot how to putt.
Sooner rather than later he’s going to remember he’s Jordan Spieth and the 40-footers are going to start pouring in. He’ll be telling Greller to go get the ball because he’s too far away and the tee is in the other direction.
Bottom line, the ball striking is for real and the putting slump will pass. He’ll win soon – maybe even as soon as this week. – Nick Menta
On golf and gambling ...
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court over tuned a federal ban on sports betting in most states, a move the PGA Tour and many professional sports leagues embraced as a tool to both build fan interest and grow revenue.
Experts estimate sports betting could become a $150-$200 billion annual industry, and even a small piece of that could be significant for golf, but there will be risks.
Unlike any other sport, golf is played on multiple fields simultaneously, which inherently creates risks when gambling is introduced to the equation. Although the Tour has gone to great pains to head off any potential problems, like all bets gambling comes with great rewards, and great risks. – Rex Hoggard