We know Kobe.
Arguably the best basketball player on earth at 24 years of age, Bryant skipped college to advance directly from high school to NBA stardom with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996. His intelligence, good looks, electric smile, and penchant for winning championships have transformed him into Michael Jordan‘s heir-apparent. The media will be on top of his trial like Dennis Rodman in pursuit of a loose basketball.
Though Kobe Bryant is a household name, who is the accuser? Ms. X is a 19-year old hotel worker and former cheerleader from Eagle, Colorado - that is about all we know. Or at least that is about all the press has revealed to us, so far.
Bryant‘s high-priced attorneys are expected to peel back every inch of the accuser‘s past. The assault on her character will probably make an actual rape seem like a picnic by comparison. The unnamed Ms. X can expect the public to hang on every nuance of every relationship, real or imagined, that she has experienced in her young life. The dirty laundry aired will easily fill the void existing since the days we were whipping Monica and Bill mercilessly on a regular basis.
Before the jury‘s decision, we will know Ms. X very well: every weakness in character, all of her mistakes, and certainly every misstep with a man that she has made in her short life. Everything ... except her name.
It is with some sheepishness that I admit to being unable to resist following this case, myself. After reading about how Ms. X‘s name and photos had been revealed on the internet, I found myself curious about where computer users had been able to learn her identity. I thought I would satisfy my morbid curiosity about her identity by doing a quick search on the internet.
I began by highlighting Kobe Bryant - which netted only 287,000 results from which to choose. Narrowing my scope resulted in a mere 4000 sites. I knew that mainstream media wouldn‘t have the answers to Ms. X‘s identity, so I began reviewing only internet addresses that weren‘t familiar. My journey took me on uncomfortable, disjointed ride through disguised porn sites, bizarre news addresses, and personal web sites. One person‘s message told of a 15 minute search to find the accuser‘s name but I had been in cyber space for 45 minutes in pursuit of Ms. X and had nothing to show for it.
I was now thoroughly disgusted with myself. Upset that my search was taking so long and appalled that I was now an official lowlife who spend an inordinate amount of time looking for sensationalism online.
Suddenly, I found her. A one-page web site appeared on my computer including Ms. X‘s full name, address, phone number, email address, and even two harmless photos. She looks so young and innocent - a kid, really.
It dawned on me that I was one of millions who has searched for her identity in recent days. I was also one of many who have violated her privacy. Finding Ms. X only sickened me.
There can be no real winners in the upcoming Kobe Bryant trial. There are only losers and I already feel like one of them.