Two days after Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown said Kobe Bryant was "somewhat confused about culture" and criticized Bryant's treatment of former teammate Shaquille O'Neal, Bryant responded to the comments. Brown said Tuesday during an appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show" that because Bryant's childhood from ages 6 to 13 was spent in Italy while his father, Joe Bryant, played basketball overseas, Kobe "doesn't quite fit what's happening in America."
Brown, a running back for the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965, also brought up Bryant's sometimes-icy relationship with O'Neal, saying, "He threw Shaq under the bus."
Bryant, speaking Thursday after the Los Angeles Lakers' practice, said the comments caught him off guard. "It surprised me in a sense that it came out of left field," Bryant said. "I mean, I've never even met him, so it came out of left field but I do think it's a great opportunity to have these conversations, to have this discussion. "I think no matter where you come from, whether you come from Italy, whether you come from Inglewood [Calif.], whether you come from London, it doesn't matter. Ultimately, the conversation is that it doesn't matter what color skin you are to begin with. But, I think it's a good place to start to have a good conversation and try to educate one another and try to improve as a society from it."