Kobe Bryant knows a thing or two about becoming a superstar at a young age.
The five-time NBA champion made his Los Angeles Lakers debut at age 18, becoming the youngest player ever to play in the league. Playing in one of the largest and most pressure-packed media markets in the world, Bryant won three NBA titles by the time he was 25.
So even though it may seem like Bryant has little in common with Justin Bieber, he actually may understand some of what the troubled pop star is facing as he deals with the consequences of global superstardom.
In a recent profile of Bryant in the New Yorker, Ben McGrath writes that Bryant has taken a keen interest in Bieber, and he even has a bet with a business partner that Bieber's career will implode before that of Katy Perry. Here's an excerpt from the story:
"Kobe Bryant and a business associate have a running bet on the staying power of the pop stars Katy Perry and Justin Bieber. Bryant, who wears self-discipline like a badge, has long favored the more predictable Perry's odds, and found in Bieber’s recent tabloid episodes hints of a looming implosion: talent spurned. As he and the associate walked into the dining room at the Four Seasons, in downtown Miami, in late January, the associate, a Belieber, mentioned that Bryant had been giving him a hard time about it for years. He seemed almost ready to concede. That morning, elsewhere in Miami, Bieber had been caught drag racing and booked for driving under the influence."
The Miami fiasco is just the most recent of Bieber's woes. His Los Angeles mansion was raided by police earlier this year after he allegedly pelted his neighbor's house with eggs.
Perry, meanwhile, has steered clear of any legal trouble recently.
Here's a better bet for Bryant to consider: What will happen first? Bieber's career implosion or the Lakers' return to the playoffs?