Kobe...Could it be?

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, July, 7 2003  that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order a transcript of the entire show.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: L.A. Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant has been accused of sexual assaulting a woman on June 30 near Vail, Colorado. The county district attorney said earlier today that he needed more time before deciding whether or not to file charges against the NBA all-star.

Will this accusation forever tarnish the reputation of one of the NBA's best known and respected players?

Joining us now is former NBA star and FOX sports analyst Marques Johnson.

Marques, good to have you with us. You know Kobe? Do you know him well at all?

MARQUES JOHNSON, FOX SPORTS ANALYST: I don't know him well but I do know Kobe, yes.

COLMES: What's your reaction to these charges?

JOHNSON: Well, you know, I've been around this league a long time as a broadcaster and a player since 1977. Very little shocks me but I was surprised when I read that his name was connected with something like this. It's just not something that you connect with Kobe Bryant.

COLMES: What do you suspect is going on here?

JOHNSON: Well, you know, his attorney has not come out and said that it's a case of mistaken identity or that he wasn't there or didn't know the woman. I expect that something went on, but I would like to think that maybe, you now, knowing Kobe, maybe some kind of playful manner got a little overboard, went overboard and it got out of hand.

I don't know. It's hard to say until we get more facts on this.

The thing that I do find very intriguing is that I talked to a lot of my colleagues today and everybody is circling the wagons around Kobe. They're being very protective of Kobe. And I think a lot of that has to do with the way he carries himself as a person on and off the court.

COLMES: He's personally well liked, as you say. They're circling the wagons. People are saying, people who know him, this could not be; this wouldn't happen.

We don't know the facts yet but often if you're in the public spotlight, how often does it happen to you that people -- has it ever happened, somebody made a charge that wasn't accurate, trying to get you because you're well known?

JOHNSON: No, all the charges against me have been accurate. I've been fortunate, no, nothing like this has ever happened.

But that's why it's surprising with Kobe because he's the kind of guy that doesn't go to strip clubs, don't go to nightclubs. He doesn't hang out in the hotel lobby bars. You know, he eats dinner with his bodyguards or personal trainer, and insulates himself from things like this. So I mean, that's why I was somewhat shocked when I first heard of this.

COLMES: The D.A. says there is a chance of not filing charges or filing different charges. I'm not quite sure what he means by that.

JOHNSON: Well, it's been very confusing communications from law enforcement in Colorado. You've got a sheriff that kind of circumvented the whole process by going straight to the judge. The D.A. says that that's not normal procedure. The sheriff's department spokeswoman says that happens all the time.

So we're getting a lot of confusing signals from down there. I hope it's not a case of a sheriff, overzealous, trying to make a name for himself. Now I don't know if that's the case but it's confusing trying to sort out everything that's happening from Colorado.

COLMES: Do you find somebody who is well known, in the public spotlight, you don't always know the motives of people. You have to be extra careful about how you behave in public, who you associate with, what you say and what you do?

JOHNSON: Well, especially nowadays. "Sports Illustrated" did an article on NBA players and their posses, six to 10 guys that hang around him at all times. And things like this happen. And you can understand why guys kind of put up that kind of protective covering, whenever they go out in public. They make it tough for people to get to them.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Marques, welcome to the show. Thanks for being with us.

JOHNSON: My pleasure.

HANNITY: I want to -- this is an issue with athletes and rock stars. They finish their job, they go out to their cars, and there are young women waiting there for them. It's a very common occurrence, correct?

JOHNSON: Well, we can throw politicians into the mix, also, I believe.

HANNITY: But I think it's more... JOHNSON: I know what you're saying. Yes, right.

HANNITY: I don't doubt that politicians are involved in this stuff either so.

So the temptations for these players, they make a lot of money. They've got fame, they've got fortune. And they've got women that are making themselves available to them. It's almost a phenomenon, isn't that true?

JOHNSON: Well, I mean, the groupie phenomenon has been around for a long time. And you know, we talk about it being a current phenomenon. You look through biblical history and history through the ages and it's always been...

HANNITY: Let me tell you, they're not waiting for talk show hosts. I can tell you that. There is a different feel for this.

And I don't know -- the point I'm trying to get to here is these athletes have got to be really, really careful. Like the Reverend Billy Graham wouldn't get alone in an elevator with a woman for all of his life and he's been above any type of scandal for his entire career. He made a conscious decision on how he was going to live his life and conduct himself. The same with his son Franklin Graham.

These players have to know that there are people out there that don't have their best interests at heart, and perhaps could put them in a situation, if he went back and he's alone with this woman, he is vulnerable to this type of charge, is that correct?

JOHNSON: You're absolutely right. But here's a guy, Kobe Bryant, that's 24 years old, who was kind of rocketed into responsibility, started his pro career at 17 years old.

HANNITY: Isn't he married?

JOHNSON: Married. Got married a couple of years ago. But a very mature young man for his age but you're absolutely right. And I would be willing to chalk it up as a youthful indiscretion, a mistaken judgment, but you're right. You have to be extra careful because of who you are, because of the amount of money that you make. A lot of people see dollar signs. And not to say that's what is happening in this case.

HANNITY: But this is part of the difficulty. This is where I wanted to go here. If it's consensual or it’s some type of assault, and it's one person's word against another person's word. Just by virtue of the allegation -- and one of the things I noticed in the "L.A. Times" article about this, after the judge reviewed the physical evidence.


HANNITY: I don't know how to interpret that but... some type of physical evidence that helped this judge determine and issue this warrant for Bryant's arrest. Which tells me that he was in some way, shape, matter or form in a compromising position, correct?

JOHNSON: Well, I mean, you're right. Again, I haven't heard his attorney say that it's a case of mistaken identity, that he wasn't there. She's got the wrong man.

So obviously, something happened. And it's just a question of to what extent this something did happen. And again, I'm hoping that it was a case of misinterpretation, that she thought one thing was happening, maybe Kobe had some totally different intentions in mind.

Again, we're all speculating. I hate to do that because the facts haven't come out. But it's just a real, real sketchy evidence involved in this case to make a judgment on.

COLMES: Marques, thanks for being here with us to talk about it. Thank you very much.

HANNITY: Good to see you.

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