On Wednesday (Feb. 5) King was granted a rare interview with Los Angeles Sparks legend to discuss Kobe Bryant’s legacy and their friendship, but instead of taking the time to discuss his illustrious career, King decided to utilize the time to press Leslie about her feelings regarding the death of Bryant and how the 2003 rape allegation would affect his legacy.
“It’s been said that his legacy is complicated because of a sexual assault charge which was dismissed in 2003, 2004,” King asked. “Is it complicated for you, as a woman, as a WNBA player?”
Leslie, who was Bryant’s best friend, responded that she doesn’t feel Kobe’s legacy is complicated at all before noting that the allegations made against Bryant in 2003 doesn’t line up with the character that he was known to exhibit on and off the court.
“It’s not complicated at all,” Leslie responded. “I’ve just have never seen Kobe be the type of person to do something or violate a woman, or be aggressive in that way. That’s just not the person that I know.”
Not happy with the response, King pressed on stating to Leslie that an abusive character is something that she wouldn’t know about as a friend.
”Lisa you wouldn’t see it though. As his friend, you wouldn’t see it,” King replied.
Not one to back down, Leslie continued to defend her friend stating that the allegation was unfair to pair with his legacy.
“I just don’t believe that. And I’m not saying things didn’t happen. I just don’t believe that things didn’t happen with force,” Leslie continued. “I think that the media should be more respectful at this time. It’s like if you had questions about it, you had many years to ask him that. I don’t think it’s something we should keep hanging over his legacy.”
Although King didn’t lead with the fact that the case was dismissed due to the accuser’s unwillingness to testify, she did state the fact but not until after Leslie mentioned the fact first. It was that detail coupled with the fact King seemingly tried to weaponize Lisa Leslie’s gender to pressure her into seeing King’s point that Twitter had enough.
But it wasn’t just fans of Kobe that took offense, Ari Lennox, 50 Cent,and Lil Duval both took to social media to call out Gayle King for pressing the narrative despite knowing that the allegations were dismissed.
“Listen, this is about to get real toxic, and I don’t give a f*ck if I get cancelled forever,” Lennox began. “F*ck Gayle and F*ck Oprah. Y’all are some self-hating pieces of sh*t f*ck asses. You want to spend the rest of your days tearing down Black people? Build us up, help us! I’m not here for anybody tearing down that legendary man.”
Lil Duval’s sentiments echoed Ari Lennox as he noted that he would like to see Gayle King interview Harvey Weinstein in the midst of the Black celebrities that she’s focused on.
“Salute to Lisa Leslie for not letting Gayle suck her into her agenda. Somebody tell Gayle to interview Harvey Weinstein next,” Lil Duval said. “I hope women are paying attention to what’s really going on within our community. It ain’t them f*cking with us[,] it’s US f*cking with us.”
Check out the full interview and some of Black Twitter’s reactions below.