Even though retired NBA legend Kobe Bryant was born and raised a Catholic, he made a few bad turns. But thankfully, the basketball star was able to turn his life around, and it was all thanks to a kind-hearted priest.
Back in 2003, Bryant's career and personal life hit an all-time low after he was accused by a woman of rape. Bryant admitted that he had sex with the woman, but denied rape. The court judge dropped the charges against him, but the woman still filed a civil lawsuit against him and they settled out of court.
Because of the scandal, advertisers wanted nothing to do with Bryant, and his wife Vanessa filed for divorce. But during that bleak moment in his life, Bryant knew who to turn to - God. He went to church and talked to his priest, and the conversation was really enlightening for the sports star.
"The one thing that really helped me during that process — I'm Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic — was talking to a priest. It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, 'Did you do it?' And I say, 'Of course not.' Then he asks, 'Do you have a good lawyer?' And I'm like, 'Uh, yeah, he's phenomenal.' So then he just said, 'Let it go. Move on. God's not going to give you anything you can't handle, and it's in his hands now. This is something you can't control. So let it go.' And that was the turning point," Bryant told GQ Magazine.
Bryant took the priest's advice to heart and sought to live his life better. Eventually, he and his wife got back together and have even started their own cause called the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KVBFF), which encourages young kids to develop their physical and social skills through sports and charity work.
When asked why they started the foundation, Bryant answered, "My career is winding down. At the end of my career, I don't want to look back and just say, 'Well, I had a successful career because I won so many championships and scored so many points.' There's something else that you have to do with that."
Looking back at his own mistakes, Bryant said that everybody deserves a second chance and a little lift every now and then. "[The homelessness] issue is one that kind of gets pushed on the back burner because it's easy to point the blame at those who are homeless and say, 'Well, you made that bad decision. This is where you are. It's your fault.' In life, we all make mistakes and to stand back and allow someone to live that way and kind of wash your hands of it... that's not right," he said.