NBA star Kobe Bryant is featured on the cover of the March 2010 issue of GQ Magazine. Along with the cover, the issue includes an in depth article on the basketball giant, where Kobe and Gentleman’s Quarterly discuss a number of things, including that beef he had with Shaq and how tight he is with his wife Vanessa. Check out a snippet of the interview below…

“What people see on court is another side of me; it’s not me. That dark side that’s coming to get you – ha ha! I’m not losing this fucking game – that’s not who I am. That’s part of me. Off the court, I’m completely different.”

ON HIS PAST “BEEF” WITH SHAQ: It was Bryant’s fourth championship and the most satisfying, because it was his first without longtime teammate, archrival, and overall irritant Shaquille O’Neal. (Shaq had publicly mocked Bryant for failing to win without him, chanting in a bizarre karaoke rap: Kobe, tell me how my ass taste?) Now that he’s shut Shaq up, Bryant can look back on their time together with newfound perspective. “The biggest mistake I made was responding to what he was saying about me. Once I responded, now that made it seem like I was part of that whole thing. It’s like, Okay, these two are against each other. As opposed to just staying quiet, which is what I’ve been doing the last few years. Let him say what he needs to say.”

ON HIS WIFE VANESSA: They met in 1999. He was a global superstar working on a rap album, never to be released, and she was a high school student dancing in a rap video. They were engaged quickly, over the strenuous objections of his parents, who didn’t attend the wedding in April 2001. Most reports said the Bryants thought Vanessa too young. Whatever the cause, there was an ugly split—which has apparently healed, because Bryant says he and his parents are tight: “I talked to my mom today.”

A staple at Staples Center, Vanessa has become one of the most visible women in the nation’s most visibility-conscious city, but she seldom speaks to reporters, and Bryant discusses her with clipped, protective answers. Though their marriage has been tested—by infidelity, by gossip—he says it’s strong. Asked to name his best friends, he names her first. “We’re close,” he says. “We’re like homeys.”

In flowing script, between the children and Vanessa, he’s tattooed two words: Psalm XXVII. Why? “Because it’s beautiful,” he says. In part, Psalm 27 reads: When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.&

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