Clutch Time for Kobe
But if family was on Bryant's arm, a looming legal battle was on his mind. In the days leading up to his Oct. 9 preliminary hearing on rape charges in Eagle, Colo., it appeared increasingly likely that his legal team would waive the right to that proceeding, which was scheduled to be open to the public, on the theory that a media blitz could only do more harm. (Even if the prelim is waived, Bryant is obliged to appear in Eagle for arraignment and a bail hearing.)
Bryant seemed particularly upset by a published report that his marriage had been on the rocks well before the alleged rape, an assertion he called "completely untrue." Explaining his extra security in Hawaii—he never went anywhere without three bodyguards—Bryant said, "It's very difficult for me to trust anybody." One of his few excursions was to join teammates for a game of paintball at a local Air Force base, then shoot hoops with kids of the military personnel. Bryant also admitted that stress had contributed to his 15-lb. weight loss. "You have your good days," he said, "you have your bad days." These days, it seems, the former are in very short supply.