NBA superfan Jimmy Goldstein says Kobe Bryant told Pau Gasol not to talk to him
If you’ve ever seen an NBA playoff game, chances are you’ve seen Jimmy Goldstein positioned in expensive seats somewhere near the court. And if you don’t know who Jimmy Goldstein is, he is the older fellow decorated in outlandish designer clothes — highlighted by a cowboy hat that always looks like it’s made out of one of Johnny Weir’s figure skating costumes — who also occasionally has a supermodel by his side. Basically, he’s the guy that’s probably made you wonder, “Who’s that creepy old dude that looks like a scarecrow dressed by Gianni Versace?”
Goldstein is an NBA freak, racking up the frequent-flyer miles during the playoffs, taking in as many games as he can, no matter the venue. Some of the tickets are fronted by team owners he’s pals with, others Goldstein, whose source of wealth (reportedly in the multi-million range) is still unclear, purchases on his own. He even frequents practices and press conferences, sometimes even making it into locker rooms.
With the playoffs in full swing, it’s business as usual for Goldstein. This year, he’ll be writing a playoff journal for GQ, which is kind of a big deal because he’s seen as somewhat of an enigma by his “fans.” His first report was published on Friday.
In the dispatch he talks about how he’s quite chummy with many a player (“I have friends on every team”). Save for one notable exception — a Mr. Kobe Bryant. Goldstein isn’t sure why Kobe often acts coldly towards him, but he knows Kobe’s even gone as far as telling others not to be cordial with him. Goldstein explains:
Every now and then Kobe surprises me by walking up to me shaking hands and giving me a nice smile. But for the most part, he ignores me. He doesn’t look at me and even went to the extent of telling Pau Gasol not to say hello to me. He’s never explained why.
Pau and I were very good friends before he got traded to the Lakers. After he became a Laker, he’s standing at the baseline during the Lakers warm ups and he would never say hello. Finally, during the All Star Weekend a couple years ago, when I ran into him and he wasn’t putting on his ‘Laker face’ so to speak, he gave me a big hug and apologized for not being friendly to me at the games, but told me that it was because Kobe asked him not to be friendly to me.
Not at all surprising. Sounds like typical Kobe. Goldstein has been a Lakers season ticket holder since 1961, but despite that fact he openly roots for their opponent every game. It’s this he suspects as the source of Kobe’s frequent aloofness towards him. Whatever the case, have we ruled out Kobe might just be jealous that Goldsein pulls off a brimmed hat better than he can?
The entire GQ article is a must-read. And if you’re looking for an equally mesmerizing companion video, we recommend this: