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Like the Holiday Inn ads where hotel guests use a good night’s sleep to address problems outside their purview, Kobe Bryant is riding the wave of confidence gained from a Hall-of-Fame-caliber basketball career to tackle new challenges.

First up, learning how to play a classical piano piece by ear. Bryant looped Beethoven’s famed “Moonlight Sonata” on his iPhone while he picked out the melody note-by-note on a keyboard.

Bryant performed the sonata for his wife Vanessa to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary. If their marriage lasts another 15 years, don’t be surprised if Bryant goes on to master Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s notoriously difficult “Flight of the Bumblebee.”


Bryant is no newcomer to the world of music. In high school he was part of a rap crew known as CHEIZAW (Canon Homo Sapiens Eclectic Iconic Zaibatsu Abstract Words). Later, as a young star for the Los Angeles Lakers, he spent a summer back east working on his rap skills at Manhattan’s Hit Factory. Signed by Sony, Bryant performed competently when given the opportunity to record a verse on a remix of Brian McKnight’s “Hold Me.”


In January of 2000, Sony Entertainment released the Bryant’s rap single “K.O.B.E.” featuring a hook sung by supermodel Tyra Banks. Unfortunately (or perhaps, mercifully, judging by the public’s reaction to the song), Bryant’s singing career was short lived. Interest in the hoopster/rapper novelty had already begun to wane after earlier offerings from Lakers’ teammate Shaquille O’Neal.


Before his Beethoven performance, Bryant’s last notable news in the realm of music — aside from Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing the national anthem prior to the Black Mamba’s final game — was presenting Taylor Swift with her own banner at Staples Center.

In August of last year, Bryant surprised Swift at one of her 1989 World Tour concerts. He appeared on stage to a deafening roar from the crowd and then directed Swift’s attention toward the rafters…