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Readers find different answers to 'What makes a superhero?'

July 29, 2003

Thank you, Steve Smith, for your version of Kobe Bryant ("Kobe made

more than a mistake," Saturday). It is exactly as mine. What could I

tell my grandsons who look up to Bryant as a role model? There is

absolutely no excuse for what he has done. I don't think I can ever

watch him play basketball again.

A $4-million diamond ring? Think what that could do for the

homeless in Orange County.

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GWEN JOHNSON

Corona del Mar

I praise the article "Kobe made more than a mistake," in which

Steve Smith took a bold look at the morality of Kobe Bryant's hotel

room behavior.

The image of the press conference -- Bryant gripping his wife's

hand as he plead innocence of sexual assault while asking us to

excuse his infidelity -- left me with a sour feeling. I'm a Lakers

fan and I admired and respected Bryant. Now what? Is his wife's

forgiveness all I am expected to need before I excuse him? Does

Bryant expect us all to shrug our shoulders and accept, as he does,

that immorality is inevitable, that humans will be humans, men will

be men, and basketball players will be basketball players? On the

other hand, why shouldn't he ask that of us? America virtually

ignored how Magic Johnson got HIV and welcomed him right back into

the mainstream, as a victim and a hero. We excuse the chronically

misbehaving Dennis Rodman time and again for his misbehavior.

The message we give kids who look up to these men is that there

are no apparent consequences for breaking laws, whether moral or

civil. Yes, eventually Bryant should be forgiven. But first he should

perform some sort of public penance. Something that pinches more than

potentially losing a multimillion-dollar endorsement contract; he

already has more millions than a man can spend in a lifetime --

unless $4-million apologies are on the budget.

Maybe Bryant would have gained some sympathy if he'd donated $4

million to women's causes, too.

LIZ SWIERTZ

Corona del Mar

Lately, Steve Smith has taken on the task of being the campus

moralist. When Smith was talking about education, water quality and

bureaucratic bungling -- we were right there with him. Recently, he

has been airing a series of guilt-ridden, self-indulgent articles.

Those regarding Newport Beach City Councilman Dick Nichols and Kobe

Bryant have stirred our concern that Smith is no longer in the

"reporting the facts" business.

His latest issue: Shame on Kobe!

First of all, Bryant is a handsome, black 24-year-old, an

international superstar with more popularity, skill and money than

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