L.A. Times: His giant arms have embraced championships, punched defeats, clutched stardom, shoved frustration, been marked with every sort of tattoo and twist and tear.
Yet marching into National Stadium for the Olympic opening ceremony Friday, Kobe Bryant looked down and saw something new.
“First time ever,” he said.
And for his next act, the coldblooded superstar has become a bouncy public patriot, wearing his flag the way he once wore his glare.
Kobe Bryant with goose bumps is like the Great Wall with graffiti, but it works.
Red, white and human, he has never looked better.
“This has a greater significance than anything I’ve ever been part of,” he said at the U.S. Olympic basketball team’s practice Saturday, his voice strangely familiar.
Oh, yeah. This was the Kobe Bryant from a dozen years ago, before he disappeared under the drama.
He’s grateful. He’s humble. He’s awed. After a difficult June featuring a lost NBA championship and an embarrassing Shaquille O’Neal rap video, he’s that kid again.
Entering today’s nutty Olympic opener against host China — “It will be the highest-energy game I’ve ever been part of,” he said — Bryant has decided there’s something bigger than Lakerland.