Kobe Bryant is a betting man as it turns out. The NBA superstar has a running bet that Justin Bieber’s career won’t outlast Katy Perry’s – which is a pretty arbitrary comparison but there it is.
As revealed in the New Yorker’s profile on the legendary sportsman, Byrant, 35, is keeping tabs on Bieber and believes the 20-year-old is headed for professional oblivion in light of his recent legal troubles.
In a somewhat Trading Places scenario — but without the tiresome homelessness — Kobe and a business associate (who supports Bieber), have an ongoing wager on which pop star is likely to be a stayer and whose career will implode.
Kobe is backing Perry to win and Bieber to lose the bet.
From the New Yorker:
“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.”
Many commentators have pointed out that Kobe — like Justin — entered his chosen field at a young age. After deciding not to go to college, the then 17-year-old signed his first NBA contract debuting at 18 as the youngest player ever to play in the league. Over the years he has become one of the game’s most successful and respected stars.
Bryant knows what it’s like to be surrounded by uber wealth for the first time, and as a good-looking basketball superstar has doubtless come into contact with excess and faced a fear of failure.
But then, Kobe is 15 years older than Bieber, so he’s had time to mature and grow up.
Bieber’s incident prone 2013 – which featured tabloid-friendly dramas such as the seizing of his former pet monkey in Germany, run-ins in clubs or with paparazzi, and at least two drug busts for tiny amounts of marijuana where the singer wasn’t present — are all teen antics.
Come 2014, the story is largely the same but with legal consequences.
Just nine days into the new year, Justin was accused of egging the home of his ex-neighbor in Calabasas, California. January 23 saw the then 19-year-old arrested in Miami Beach on suspicion of DUI. Days later he turned himself in to Toronto police to be charged with assault over an alleged attack.
Thus far, it’s not the best report card. Equally, given the unnaturally avid press attention on Bieber that makes everything and anything he does an international incident — it’s also not the worst.
In fact, put most 16-25 year-old males into the situations Bieber got himself into, add raging hormones, marijuana, lots of money, peer pressure and we’ll wager the results would be the same.
Kobe may have the experience to know when someone isn’t fulfilling their potential, but that experience should have also told him 20 is no age to write off someone’s career or future.
Justin has plenty of years to dust himself down and move past this troubled period. Bet or no bet, the path of any life comes down to personal choices.
And Bieber still has that.