Those who think Kobe Bryant is without a weakness are sorely mistaken.
The Black Mamba, who has found time for more introspection recently, admitted in an interview with GQ that one of his greatest flaws is his inability to cultivate great friendships.
When asked by interviewer Chuck Klosterman if he had friends, Bryant responded with this:
"I have 'like minds.' You know, I've been fortunate to play in Los Angeles, where there are a lot of people like me. Actors. Musicians. Businessmen. Obsessives. People who feel like God put them on earth to do whatever it is that they do. Now, do we have time to build great relationships? Do we have time to build great friendships? No. Do we have time to socialize and to hangout aimlessly? No. Do we want to do that? No. We want to work. I enjoy working."
Bryant has long been known as a loner and he's had lots of problems with teammates during his two decades in the NBA. But it's hard to argue with the results: Bryant has brought five championship trophies to Los Angeles and earlier in the 2014-15 he overtook Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
The 36-year-old Bryant traces his lack of companions to his childhood in Italy. He told Klosterman of his struggles finding friends while his family moved around the country to accommodate his father's professional basketball aspirations.
"Of course. It's not like I'm saying, 'I don't need friends because I'm so strong.' It's a weakness. When I was growing up in Italy, I grew up in isolation. It was not an environment suited to me. I was the only black kid. I didn't speak the language. I'd be in one city, but then we'd move to a different city and I'd have to do everything again. I'd make friends, but I'd never be part of the group, because the other kids were already growing up together. So this is how I grew up, and these are the weaknesses that I have."
Bryant has been committed to basketball for so long that now that his playing days are limited he seems to be struggling with how to handle himself. After tearing his rotator cuff last month Bryant is out for the rest of the 2015 season, the third year in a row in which an injury has sidelined him for the end of the season.
Bryant is set to make $25 million in 2015-16, but it's unclear whether he'll be able to make it through a full season. There's more uncertainty regarding who will be playing around him, as the Lakers are reportedly struggling to find guys who want to be Bryant's teammates.
To read Bryant's entire GQ interview, see here.