Gayle King interviewed Lisa Lesile on CBS This Morning and some of her questions regarding the recently deceased Kobe Bryant have drawn criticism. Leslie was a good friend of Bryant, as they both played professional basketball in Los Angeles. Additionally Bryant became a true ambassador for the women’s game and WNBA which brought the two even closer.
The veteran journalist at one point in the interview asked about the sexual assault allegations against Bryant that had been dismissed in September 2004 when Bryant settled with the alleged victim. “It’s been said that his legacy is complicated because of the sexual assault charge, which was dismissed in 2003, 2004,” King asked in the interview. “Is it complicated for you as a woman, as a WNBA player?” Leslie responded by saying her friend’s legacy was not complicated. The 47-year-old, a three-time WNBA MVP, said she recalled going out with Bryant to clubs without issue.
“Kobe’s not the kind of guy, never been like ‘Lis, go get that girl, or ‘tell her or send her this,’ ” she said. “I have other NBA friends that are like that. Kobe, he was never like that. I just never see him being the kind of person that would be, do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way.” King quickly answered back, “But, Lisa, you wouldn’t see it, though. As his friend, you wouldn’t see it.”
Leslie was visibly emotional while answering, responded that she does not believe Bryant would have used force to get sex. She went on to say the questions about the rape case are not respectful and that the media has helped keep the case “hanging over his legacy.”
Many blasted Ms. King on social media for her insensitivity in the questions regarding Bryant who has not yet had a funeral service. Some implied she tried to manipulate Lisa Leslie into bashing Bryant. Others felt it was a witch hunt against black men in America. Gayle tried to back track by saying if she had only seen the short clip that had those Bryant questions she would be “extremely angry” at herself as well.
She posted videos to her Twitter account defending herself and ripping CBS “For the network to take the most salacious part when taken out of context and put it up online for people who didn’t see the interview is very upsetting to me, and that’s something I’m going to have to deal with with them. There will be intense discussion about that.” said King regarding CBS’s promotion of the interview.