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Gayle King heard you. After her interview with former L.A. Sparks star Lisa Leslie went viral for all the wrong reasons, King addressed the backlash, saying disrespecting Kobe Bryant was not the takeaway she’d intended.
King interviewed Leslie about her longtime friendship with Bryant, as a member of the Los Angeles Sparks champion WNBA squad while Bryant starred for the Los Angeles Lakers. They discussed Kobe’s career overall and King asked about the 2003 rape allegations, wondering if that complicated his legacy.
When pressed, Leslie simply said that as the case was resolved it shouldn’t taint Bryant’s legacy. Many observers felt that King should not have brought up Kobe’s past now that he’s passed. Snoop, in particular, felt that King was “out of pocket.”
After King’s comments, CBS also issued a statement, saying that the interview was not presented in accordance with their standards:
“Gayle conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant. An excerpt was posted that did not reflect the nature and tone of the full interview. We are addressing the internal process that led to this and changes have already been made” the statement read.
It should be noted that the interview with Leslie was approximately 11 minutes long and the conversation about the 2003 rape allegations was less than 2 minutes. The topic of Kobe’s legacy, including whether or not the allegations hurt his career, have been discussed since his death on sports shows on ESPN and Fox. So King has not been the only one to bring them up.
50 Cent offered a surprisingly measured take on the backlash as well.
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