Sportress of Blogitude

Jive Turkey: There Goes Kobe Bryant, Pissing Off The Armenians Again

Jesus, you would think Kobe Bryant would have learned by now: don’t mess with the Armenians. But here he goes again, thumbing his nose at the people who call that wonderful country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia home (or are descended from folks who once called it home). You see, Kobe recently signed an endorsement deal with Turkish Airlines to become their “global brand ambassador” in the coming year. Why would that piss off Armenians, you ask? The usual sort of run of the mill stuff that ticks people off: genocide denial.

The tension stems from Turkey’s denial that about 1.5 million Armenian deaths from 1915-19 constituted genocide. Turkey instead describes the deaths as the result of civil unrest during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

There are about 700,000 Armenian Americans in California, and Armenian National Committee of America executive director Aram Hamparian tells the Times that many of them are furious over Bryant’s deal with Turkey’s state carrier.

Wow. I guess I can see why Armenians and Armenian-Americans alike could have a problem with Kobe’s decision. And as noted above, I cannot believe Kobe would allow himself to get into this kind of sticky situation involving the Armenians once again, given his troubled past with them. One would suspect the controversies which erupted when Kobe slapped Eric Bogosian, threw a drink in Cher’s face, cheated in a game of chess against Gary Kasparov, called Bob Keeshan (a/k/a Captain Kangaroo) a pedophile, reneged on an assisted suicide pact with Dr. Jack Kevorkian, came on to Armen Ketayan’s wife and performed a pornographic parody of several songs from Raffi’s catalog during the Annual Armenian-American Pride Gala in 2003*, that he would steer clear of anything involving the Armenians.

All I know is Kobe and his family will most certainly not be invited to the annual Kardashian family Christmas party this holiday season, although I assume that could be perceived as a welcome development.

(* incident never occurred – I think)

Bryant causes outrage with Turkish Airlines endorsement [SI/AP]