If Kobe Bryant was still in the NBA, he would not, it seems, be standing for the National Anthem.
That, or he’d be finding some sort of other way to follow Colin Kaepernick’s lead.
Speaking with The Undefeated’s Jemele Hill, Bryant said he would have absolutely followed in the footsteps of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback when it came to peacefully protesting during the national anthem—no matter how much criticism he might have bore for it:
Hill: Obviously one of the biggest issues in sports was the National Anthem peaceful protests that took place with the NFL players. Given the NBA’s stance on standing for the National Anthem, seeing the landscape in sports, if you were still playing, would that have something you had participated in?
Bryant: Yeah, I would have participated in it, for sure. I’m sure I would have gotten some flack for it. That’s fine. I think what Colin’s message was is a simple one: It’s police brutality needs to stop. We need to take a look at that.
Here’s the clip that The Undefeated posted in its entirety:
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) February 12, 2018
The NBA plays home to some of the most progressive and outspoken athletes in professional sports, so Bryant’s sentiments aren’t exactly a shocker. He never seemed to be the most relatable player throughout his career—certainly not someone who would spearhead Kaepernick’s sort of social charge.
But Bryant changed as he entered his twilight. He became more outspoken and congenial and just plain candid. It doesn’t take much to envision him staging his own form of protest or mirroring Kaepernick’s—even if only for a game.