Much like NBA die-hards, Gossip Girls fans are an odd bunch. They are obsessed with rankings, partnering up the principle characters in hypothetical situations, associating themselves with a given character - you're a Chuck, no, you're a Serena - and there's a cliquey nature to the whole thing.
I figured it's about time to analogize a character from the show to an NBA star. This one proved much easier than you'd think. Let's take the most complex character in the whole series. Only one player is diabolical, egotistical, polarizing and captivating enough to live up to the challenge.
Kobe Bryant is Blair Waldorf.
The future Hall of Famer has a gravitational pull that is hard to ignore. He is not one to escape scandal, and he chooses his words and spats very carefully. He's meticulous. Crafty. Detail-oriented. Constantly obsessed with exceeding his own expectations.
His famous father casts a shadow the Laker has always tried to escape. No matter how many scoring titles Bryant wins, how many 50 points games he puts up, how many rings he wins, the driving force behind his play rests in the mind of a young boy.
From a May 11 feature by SI's Chris Ballard:
It is 1981, and Kobe Bryant is 3 years old. He runs to his room, grabs his Clippers jersey and yanks it over his head. Then he steps into a pair of shorts, grabs a mini-basketball and heads to the living room to watch the Clippers game on TV. When Joe Bryant steps onto the court, Kobe mimics his father's every move. When Joe shoots a jumper, Kobe fires one at his plastic Dr. J basket. When Joe uses his guile to get to the hoop, Kobe slides by imaginary defenders, faking out the couch and the lamp. Kobe takes a seat when Joe does, grabs a towel when Joe does and, afterward, takes a shower just like Joe. Though still a toddler, Kobe already knows what he wants in life: to be just like his father.
But Kobe is not his father. He's something more. That inner drive to be the best was seeded in the mimicking moves of Jellybean, but it festered and grew. As is often the case with perfectionists, merely seeking the approval of your parents can transform into a barreling freight train you can either harness or let destroy you.
A constant drive to be the best and hold others to almost impossible standards has hurt Kobe Bryant's relationships with his teammates at times. He recently joked that "Smush Parker was the worst" and Smush Parker answered back, saying "What I don't like about him is the man that he is. His personality. How he treats people. I don't like that side of Kobe Bryant." Bryant's feud with Shaq continues to this day, despite the two's on again/off again feelings. It's clear the two needed each other to be immensely successful, but the pairing was doomed. They're rivals. They always will be.
While the Lakers star has pushed others away, the ones he stays close to remain in his inner circle. He trusts Phil Jackson, even if Jackson's personal life was a mystery and he had an odd way of showing his respect for Bryant at times. Derek Fisher is a confidant, willing to go to bat for Kobe at any time, to take pressure off him, to always be there - even if Kobe would lash out at Fisher, the guard took it in stride and let him vent. And there's Lamar Odom, who desperately wants to be a part of Kobe's life even when he's far away and refuses to admit it.
So while Kobe is scheming, plotting, analyzing, his ego fuels him, his drive to please and be better than his father consumes him and he is equal parts villain and hero at times, he's legendary. He's someone you can never ignore. And Kobe wouldn't have it any other way.
How does this relate to Blair from Gossip Girl?
Let's run through the checklist:
Famous parent - Blair's mother Eleanor is a fashion mogul and the Waldorfs are more alike than they care to admit. While Blair initially wants to outgrow her mother's shadow, she craves more, and even turns down a job with Eleanor to pursue an internship at W magazine.
Scandal - From pregnancy to infidelity, Waldorf does it all. Her constant scheming and Queen Bee tendencies follow her from high school to professional life, often landing her in trouble. But she is a gifted manipulator and always lands on her feet.
Relationships - Derek Fisher is Dorota, her family's long-time housekeeper and Blair's closest confidant; Phil Jackson is Chuck Bass, a true love who is shrouded in mystery and has an ego just as big as Blair's; her best friend, Serena, is also her rival and the two hurt each other almost as much as they help each other [cough Shaq cough]; and so on and so forth. While there are those close to Blair, it seems as though she is quick to cast people aside if they offer no benefit to her social-climbing status. She often appears lonely and jaded. Her love for herself hurts her true feelings toward others. Her cast of minions - like Smush Parker, Chris Mihm - are easily discarded and belittled.
Ego - As Gossip Girl, the unknown narrator, said in the episode "Bad News Blair," "Upper East Side queens aren't born at the top, they climb their way up in heels no matter who they have to tread on to do it." Blair also has quotes like "You can't make people love you, but can make people fear you," which while being ripped right from Machiavelli is fine. I'm pretty sure Kobe agrees.
No comparison is perfect, but this one seems almost too good to be true. While original author Cecily von Ziegesar and show creator Josh Schwartz may not have envisioned Kobe Bryant when creating the character Blair Waldorf, maybe they should have. Or perhaps I'm the crazy one.
That said, has anyone asked Kobe if he watches Gossip Girl? If not, he might enjoy it more than he thinks.