Image is perception. Perception is reality. In sports, basketball players have to control and know what their attitudes, words, behavior, gestures are communicating to others. Are their image in line with their goals?
Kobe Bryant is playing his last NBA season. He definitely will be missed but his legacy and image will remain forever. What does Kobe´s image communicate about him ?:
1. Loyalty to his team
He never changed his team. He swored loyalty to Los Angeles Lakers and played in a great level. There are just a few players like him.
Money can´t buy Bryant´s loyalty.
Kobe divided opinions. Has a lot of fans and haters as well. As a player he was unpredictable and showed it in every game, scoring more than 80 points or winning championships with the Lakers.
3. Manage well crisis
For an athlete and a public image like Kobe is necessary to prevent and solve crisis.
In 2003 Bryant had a sexual assault with a 19 year old hotel employee, a crisis that weakened and hurt his image, credibility and reputation. He lost many endorsement contracts with Mc Donald´s and Nutella.
In a press conference with his wife at his side he admitted publicly his error and said he was sorry.
Since 2004 he hasn´t been involved in a crisis again.
He is the official ambassador of non profit organizations within USA and China showing his concern in education and health programs.
5. Good relationship with teammates and rivals
During his career and his farewell he showed a lot of respect for his teammates and rivals. This attitude is not seen in many professional players.
He is a leader and an influence for Lakers team.
Kobe has a special connection with key players as Lebron James, Stephen Curry, Tim Duncan, Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant.
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