Kobe Bryant and Kanye West were once two powerful influencers in the sports and entertainment industry. The two even collaborated in some commercials.
But now it appears Bryant is distancing himself from the Grammy award-winning rapper.
Roughly three weeks ago, Westvoiced his support for President Donald Trump and called slavery a “choice.”
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years, for 400 years, that sounds like choice,” West said on “TMZ Live”. “You was there for 400 years, and it’s all of y’all?”
While speaking to a group of roughly 300 high school students in Los Angeles, Bryant said he “completely disagreed” with West.
“I’m sure the same way everybody else here in this room feels … What the hell are you talking about?” Bryant said on Tuesday. “The thing about our country is that you have the right to say whatever it is that you want to say … that’s the beautiful thing about living in a democracy.
“I think, for him, he’s one of these entertainers that’s always in a constant state of growth, he’s always challenging … himself, doing a lot of questioning internally himself … So I just take it for what it is and completely disagree.”
Bryant was at the high school in partnership with WE RISE, a community-building and art workshop which is trying to break stigmas around mental health, especially in youth communities in Los Angeles.
Bryant also opened up about his own battles with mental health.
When Bryant was an 18-year-old rookie in the NBA, the five-time NBA champ said he dealt with feelings of insecurity and negativity.
“It’s easy for us as people to kind of ignore the emotional side of it, especially when it comes to things that deal with negativity, things that deal with insecurity, things that deal with fear,” Bryant said. “It’s very easy to take the fear and just push it down, try to act like it doesn’t exist. The reason why it starts with imagination is because you first must imagine the life that you want to have. You must first imagine what it is you dream of becoming.”