Just to show you how far Ronda Rousey’s appeal has reached, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant discussed the former UFC female bantamweight champion this weekend at the all-star game.
Bryant, who announced this would be his final season, told USA TODAY Sports that he reached out to Rousey with “several messages” after her loss to Holly Holm last year.
“We have touched base,” the Los Angeles Laker great said. “That’s what it’s about. It’s not about how you win. A true champion is about how you lose and come back from that.
“I told her, ‘It’s a beautiful thing.’ That’s what I told her. I said, ‘To be a true champion sometimes you have to get knocked down.’ It happens to the best of us.”
Rousey, who won bronze at the Summer Olympics in judo, suffered her first pro defeat in 13 fights when she as finished via second round knockout vs. Holm, a former world boxing champion.
“I think the true mark of a champion is how you get up from that,” Bryant said. “If she goes through her entire career undefeated, she becomes this mythical figure that nobody can relate to.
“She got beat. We all get beat at some point or another in our lives. Now it’s a matter of how she bounces back from that. I think that’s what makes her a true champion.”
Bryant’s resume compares to the best of the best in NBA history. He’s won five NBA titles, two NBA Finals MVP awards, was the 2008 NBA MVP and an 18-time all-star selection.