Kenny Smith Addresses Gayle King's 'Insensitive' Kobe Bryant Question

The former NBA player praised Lisa Leslie for the way she handled the question about Bryant's 2003 rape case.

Kenny Smith

Image via Getty/Ethan Miller

Kenny Smith

Kenny Smith has weighed on the Gayle King's controversy regarding Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash less than two weeks ago in Calabasas.

During a sit-down with Lisa Leslie this week on CBS, King asked the WNBA legend if Bryant's 2003 rape case "complicated" his legacy. Leslie defended Bryant and said "the media should be more respectful at this time," before pointing out that the rape case was ultimately dismissed.

"If you had questions about it, you’ve had many years to ask him that," Leslie told King. "I don’t think it’s something that we should keep hanging over his legacy. I mean, it went to trial."

The interview ignited outrage across social media, prompting calls for King's termination and reported death threats.

Smith, a sports commentator/former NBA player, said he didn't approve of the violent threats, but acknowledged that King's question was insensitive.

"Death threats are a little extreme—a lot extreme. But it's unfortunate that during this time of grieving, I think the timing of the interview totally was off," Smith told TMZ at LAX. "With everyone still grieving, and so to have an interview that was led in that direction, I think the timing was insensitive."

He then applauded Leslie for the way she handled the situation.

"I thought Lisa did a great job of answering the questions," he continued. "She could only talk about what she knew and what she felt he was to her, and what she saw ... that's was her opinion of him. So, like I said, I think the timing of it was insensitive due to the fact that people are still grieving."

So, does Smith think King should be cancelled? Though he didn't give a "yes" or "no" answer, he told the outlet, "You have to be accountable for your actions."

Check out Smith's full comments below.

Latest in Sports