It has been a few years since Kobe Bryant's sexual assault trial was dismissed, and since then not much has been mentioned about the many endorsement deals he lost in the wake of being accused a criminal. Kobe was charged in July of 2003 with sexual assault after an employee at a Denver resort claimed that he raped her. Only a month before Kobe was charged, he had signed a $45 million endorsement deal with Nike. However, soon after his assault charges made headlines Nike put the deal on the back burner to await the result of his trial, and McDonald's and Ferrero dropped Kobe from their celebrity endorsement list.

Before the charges, Kobe's endorsement opportunities were overflowing. His athletic abilities and his squeaky clean image made him a hot endorsement commodity for corporations like Nike seeking to reach the millions of sports fans and teenagers tuned in to his basketball stardom. Now, a new, redefined image of Kobe Bryant is being marketed by Nike, portraying him as a real human being who sometimes makes mistakes.

Some viewers of these new Nike campaigns feel that someone other than a star athlete should have been chosen. Well, lets face it; we all make mistakes, so why not have Kobe as a role model for our youth? By admitting openly that he made a mistake and regrets committing adultery, he is showing the youth that you must own up to the choices you make, whether good or bad, and that regardless of public opinion, it is you that has to wake up in the morning and be happy with yourself. So Kobe, as Nike would say, just do it!

- D. James

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