James Valeri, the stylist who put together that hideous Kobe Bryant photoshoot for LA Times magazine is coming to the Lakers player’s defense saying that it’s “iconic” and they meant for you to question the look.

On the negative reactions:
The scarf picture and the hat picture were more to create an iconic image. When you do a portrait, you do think of the styling in how they’re going to be different and how they’re going to stand out. In 10 years time, or five years time, there has to be something particular or strange or different that will stand out. That image will stay in your mind. That’s how it’s going to become iconic. … A lot of people aren’t used to that, so when iconic pictures come out, they’re disturbing, insulting, fascinating, it has a strong feeling attached to it, good or bad.

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Of course some of Kobe’s teammates clowned him in the locker room once they caught wind of the pictures.

“There were some other guys that have already addressed him about that particular situation,” Derek Fisher said after the practice session in El Segundo. Teammates were left with befuddled reactions, and fans and writers alike mostly had the same confused sentiment. Bryant suggested the photos were “a little doctored up. The photo-shoot stylist, James Valeri, told me Monday morning that the concept was all part of an effort “to do something modern.”

But even if Bryant suggested the photos weren’t exactly authentic, he acknowledged he “had a good time” during the shoot. And for the fans who aren’t exactly enthralled with Bryant’s new look? “I don’t give a ….,” he said. As you can tell in the video below, many of Bryant’s teammates initially appeared at a loss of words. They also hesitated to convey what their initial reactions suggested.

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