Kobe's makeover: Lose the Ali T-Shirt
By Graham Hays
Page 2 staff

Kobe Bryant needs a makeover like Shaquille O'Neal needs an alley-oop option on free throws. From Kobe's surprising presence at the ESPY Awards as prosecutors in Eagle County, Colo. prepared to file sexual assault charges against him, to his Sunday appearance at the Teen Choice Awards (Fox, 8 p.m., ET, Wednesday) to accept Favorite Male Athlete honors, Bryant's public showings have been questioned and ridiculed by everyone from legal pundits to late-night talk-show hosts.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe may look good in purple and gold, but the rest of his image needs a little work.
Whether sitting quietly in the ESPY crowd in an expensive suit or accepting an award in jeans and a T-shirt, Kobe can't seem to win over a public wary of his former good-guy appeal.

His current help, obviously, just isn't getting it done. While Bryant reportedly was solely responsible for the decision to appear at the ESPY Awards, reports are that his legal team was behind those "Kobe loves Vanessa" and "Vanessa loves Kobe" bracelets the couple sported at the Teen Choice Awards. We don't know anything about Kobe's briefs -- the legal variety -- but we do know his style sense stinks.

Page 2 is here to help. It pains us to see any celebrity stuck in the glare of media headlights without benefit of a pair of Oakley sunglasses and a deft little cha-cha-cha step to avoid the on-rushing horde. That's why we've imagined what the five experts from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" would recommend to help poor Kobe out of this image nightmare.

Vanessa, Kobe Bryant
Kobe and his wife were all smiles at the ESPYs.
The Experts:

Jai Rodriguez, Culture

Carron Kressley, Fashion

Kyan Douglas, Grooming

Ted Allen, Food and Wine

Thom Filicia, Interior Design

Phil Jackson, coach, Los Angeles Lakers (special guest star)

The Makeover:

Rodriguez: "Kobe, we're here to help. You're a man with plenty of style and charisma, so just think of us as your accentuators -- we want to highlight the positives and wash away the mistakes as if you were Rupert Everett after Inspector Gadget."

Kressley: "Clearly, you're a man who isn't afraid of color. Gold and purple in front of all those Hollywood celebrities? To me, it screams roller disco, but you make it look fabulous. We need to use that when you go out in public -- no more of these drab gray suits or black T-shirts. We'll keep it subdued in the courtroom, but stay away from pinstripes. Actually, stay away from vertical stripes of any kind as long as the jury is in the room. And the next time you're out in public, I'm thinking an orange polo with a sharp pair of chinos. Whatever you do, just stay away from white -- this whole thing could last well past Labor Day."

Michael Jordan
Leave the bald head -- and the tongue-wagging -- to Mike.
Douglas: "Don't let the glare from above -- and I'm not talking about the judge -- detract from that fashion. The bald look just isn't going to cut it right now. I know it worked for Michael, but you've got to find your own style. Did Luke Skywalker wear the same dreadful robe as Obi-Wan Kenobi? No! Although he never did get rid of that awful bowl cut. The things Mark Hamill could have done with a straight razor and a little gel. But I digress. Just a little hair on top will have people thinking of your rookie season -- and nothing says innocent like the guy who took Brandy to his high school prom."

Rodriguez: "Youthful innocence is great, but don't hide the mature thinker when you're meeting new people. You speak fluent Italian, which we know leaves the ladies -- and a few of us gentlemen -- swooning. Sono corretto, il mio bell'amico? But don't just drop it in conversation without reason. Wait until the prosecutor poses an especially prickly query and then dazzle the jury with an honest answer -- in Italiano."

Kressley: I'm glad to hear the police didn't confiscate your belt, but it pays to be prepared. Scrap the sterling silver buckle -- nobody looks cool and collected stripping down at a metal detector -- and just roll over your waistband. It's functional and stylish -- it's no contest that you'll be guilty of high fashion. Isn't that right, Ted?"

Allen: "Don't ask me. The man can afford truffle oil in his pantry. Truffle oil! I'm in heaven."

Douglas: "Like it or not, inside the courtroom won't be the only place you face cameras. And that means one thing above all else ... come on, it rhymes with parole violation? Come on, people, I'm talking about exfoliation!"

Kressley: "Now it's time for the tough love. Kobe, you've got to accessorize -- calm down, I didn't say accessory after the fact. First off, those bracelets your defense team told you and Vanessa to show off at the Teen Choice Awards? I don't know if your people are getting their fashion advice from Morgan Fairchild or those Old Navy clowns, but this isn't the state fair, dear. You're not pitching things at milk bottles to try to win her the gaudiest prize in the booth. Melt those bracelets down and talk to Thom about making some spoons, or maybe a nice picture frame.

Vanessa, Kobe Bryant
Kobe wore an Ali shirt to the Teen Choice Awards, but everyone was looking at Vanessa's $4M rock.
"And don't even get me started on that over-sized cross you wore over an "Ali" T-shirt at the Teen Choice soirée. Mixed metaphors are so not in this year. All you were missing was a little chubby Buddha statue sticking out from your back pocket and a voodoo doll of the district attorney. Unless it's a purse and you're getting mugged, accessories should never be used to beat members of the public over the head -- literally or figuratively. Let's just put it this way: If you can't wear it in the Lord's house on Sunday, don't try and sneak it in my door on Saturday."

Filicia: "As for your own house, you'll probably be spending a lot of time here with all those satellite trucks parked outside the gates. Make it comfortable. Normally, there's nothing wrong with a minimalist approach to your living space, but I think we should stay away from it in this case. You should emphasize space, outside light and furnishings."

Rodriguez: "Has anyone seen Ted?"

Allen: (distantly, as if from the wine cellar) "It's about time they sent us somewhere with a real kitchen. If I have to look at one more George Foreman grill ... be right with you! Just making sure this burgundy hasn't turned to vinegar. Don't mind me."

Filicia: "Forget food for now. You know the right people to call to whip up something special for Vanessa."

Douglas: "Speaking of the lovely Mrs. Bryant, could you point us in the direction of her closet? Panama took control of the Panama Canal at the end of 1999, which is about the same time that Panama hat she tried to wear at the Teen Choice Awards went out of style. Let me burn that thing, and I'll arrange free hairstyling for a year."

Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson
Kobe could use some of Phil's words of wisdom.
Kressley: "While you're at it, give us a warning if we stray too close to that ring you bought her? Our eyesight is kind of important. Drawing attention away from yourself isn't good style, it's just a crutch. And besides, do you really want people thinking you're overcompensating for something? Diamonds are a girl's best friend, but they aren't going to give you peace of mind -- or stop you from hearing a piece of her mind."

Jackson: "Personally, I think a rock garden or a koi pond would help him find inner peace through meditation."

Filicia: "What is this, sweeps? We don't need guest appearances. Don't tell me how to liven up a living space, and I won't tell you that the pick-and-roll with Payton and Malone won't work with Kobe and Shaq playing the moan-and-groan on the other side of the court."

Kressley: "Has anyone seen gloves? We need gloves. They worked so well in court for O.J."

Filicia: "Our time is almost up. Let's see what the magic hath wrought."

(The five gather around Kobe wearing expressions disappointment)

Kressley: "Hmm, the force is strong in this one. We've dressed him, groomed him and advised him, but nothing looks different. I'm afraid even we might not be gifted enough to change such an ingrained persona."

Rodriguez: "He's beyond our powers. His image has already been determined by public opinion, and there's nothing we can do about it with but a mere hour on Bravo -- or half-hour on NBC on Thursday nights! May God -- and Sprite -- help him."

Filicia: "We did our best, men. We're not gods, and there's nothing more we can do here. But as long as there are mechanics in Tulsa wearing zoobaz pants and accountants in Akron with futons and bowl cuts, we will live to style another day!"

Graham Hays writes 'Out of the Box,' the inside scoop on yesterday's box scores, five days a week.


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