"I don't know if the guys knew who he was.... It came as a big shock to them when he was killed."—Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, on teammates’ reaction to the ending of the Steven Spielberg film Lincoln, quoted in Melissa Rohlin, “Kobe Bryant Jokes That the Lakers Were Surprised Abe Lincoln Died,” The Los Angeles Times, December 7, 2012
Well, I, for one, am awfully glad that the Times article clarified that Kobe Bryant was joking about this. Given the current state of American education, I would have been filled with consternation—but, alas, not at all surprised—to know that some American athletes had not a clue about the central event in American history and the central figure in that conflict. (Heck, at least one didn’t have a clue about an athlete, in his own century, who paved the way for him to make millions: “I don't know nothing about no Jackie Robinson," St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Vince Coleman once told a reporter.)
The more I think of it, though, the more this Bryant story sounds fishy—conspiratorial, if you ask me. Since when has Bryant ever bonded with teammates in any way, let alone at a movie? And since when has he ever displayed a sense of humor?