Earlier this week Michael Vick signed a six year, $100 million contract with the Eagles and so far the reaction from the media has been predictably mixed. Some applaud the man for turning his life around after serving a prison sentence for being convicted of dog fighting. Some feel his crimes were so heinous that he doesn’t a deserve the accolades now being laid upon him.
Still others are just puzzled as to why Philadelphia would commit so much money to a quarterback with a history of inconsistency and injuries. But regardless of your opinion one thing is clear. It’s Vick’s success on the the field that has rejuvenated his career and for fans of the purple and gold in Los Angeles it’s a story that has a familiar ring to it.
Lakers faithful need only think back and remember two words, the pairing of which probably still makes them cringe slightly as they recoil back in their seats: Kobe and Colorado. Seven years ago Kobe Bryant appeared to be on the precipice of the one of greatest tragic falls in the history of sports. He’d been accused of sexual assault and had he been tried and convicted it may ultimately have created a cultural event on par with the white Bronco and bloody gloves of a decade earlier.
Yet despite the fact that charges against Bryant were ultimately dropped, the stigma of adultery and the insinuation that he still might be guilty of worse made for fodder by critics and comedians alike.
For them the court of public opinion had already cast judgment on Kobe, and because of that many marketing analysts argued on television that Kobe’s brand would be irreparably tarnished. That he’d never have the public appeal that he once held and that the incident would stay with him the rest of his career like a yoke hanging around neck. So much for that thought.
Today Kobe is the pitchman for shoes, watches, smart cars and even for an airline based out of Turkey. According to Forbes he is now the highest paid basketball player in the world (edging out even LeBron James). By any monetary metric Kobe’s comeback from the brink of society exile is complete. And to what does he owe this turnaround? In a word, success.
Next: Back from the Brink