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Exclusive: Stephen A. Smith Predicts Kobe Bryant’s Return



Kobe Bryant is set to retire this summer … so says the Internet. Over the weekend, rumors spread that the future Hall of Famer would be hanging up his jersey after 17 seasons, but thankfully Bryant took to Twitter to shut down that nonsense.

“Really?? Me. Retire?? Soon, but not yet Vino still has work to do #35 #OG #kbvff” the Los Angeles Lakers star tweeted.

Bryant ruptured his Achilles tendon earlier this year, leading many to believe his NBA days were behind him. One person who didn’t exactly succumb to such fodder is ESPN commentator, Stephen A. Smith. “I think Kobe Bryant will try to come back approximately next January or February. He’ll be back for the second half of the season, post All-Star break, ready to roll,” Smith explained in an interview.

“That doesn’t mean he’ll have the same level of elevation, the same quickness or whatever the case may be … but whatever level of compensation is required to take place in order for him to remain an elite player in this game, he will do it. He’s got a tremendous pain threshold, his skills are unquestionable and his work ethic is unparalleled.”

Check out what else Mr. Smith had to say about the Black Mamba in our interview below.


Exclusive: The Bullet Scars That Will Forever Haunt Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Son, Etienne Maurice



Sheryl Lee Ralph shared a graphic photo on Instagram earlier this week of her son, Etienne Maurice, laying in a hospital bed bandaged up from bullet wounds. The purpose of the image was to be yet another voice calling to end gun violence.

On Wednesday, students across the country walked out of class to protest against gun violence, something that hit home for Ralph four years ago. “This mother wants #gunreform now! #guncontrol now,” she wrote.

It was during a night out in West Philadelphia that Ralph’s then 22-year-old child was robbed at gunpoint and shot three times; twice in the leg and one which grazed his forehead.

So as Ralph joined Wednesday’s national conversation about gun laws, HipHollywood talked exclusively with Etienne who shared exactly what went down the night a gun could have taken his life for good.

“I was shot four years ago, November 9 … I was black out drunk. The next thing I know I remember I woke up in the hospital, doctor said I had two bullet holes in my leg and a grazed bullet hole above my eyebrow.”

Maurice, who was robbed for his iPhone and his wallet, went on to tell us that this is something that he is reminded of constantly. “Having been shot is something that I carry with me every day. I still have numbness at the bottom of my leg from the nerve damage.”

And while he will always remember how he felt knowing his life almost ended, Etienne had a hard time fathoming how his famous mother felt. “We had the conversation about it last week and she said she peed on herself,” he told us.

For Maurice, he’s proud to see young children use their voices to make change. “There’s so many angles where we can talk about gun violence and how it’s effecting different communities,” he said. “Gun reform needs to take place now.”

Since that night, he hasn’t picked up a drink and has been now sober for four years. As for the suspects, a father-son duo, they are behind bars for attempted man slaughter.

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