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Kobe Bryant appears in Call of Duty: Black Ops commercial

November 5, 2010 | 10:40 am

I cringe when our sports culture invokes war references. Even if there's somewhat of a common thread in that both sports and the military build a sense of team camaraderie and intense preparation, it's absolutely ludicrous to pair the two together because the consequences and seriousness of war bode incredibly higher than that of a sports game.

So when I saw Kobe Bryant's commercial below in Call of Duty: Black Ops, I didn't exactly find it enjoyable. On face value, I'll admit it's cool to see Bryant handle an assault rifle and fire away. The commercial is obviously a spoof considering it also features Jimmy Kimmel and a hotel concierge answering his phone in the middle of a gun fight. But this didn't exactly cause me to roll around on the floor laughing like in that scene in Anchorman. The commercial's actually a little disturbing since it also features everyday citizens handling guns as if they're toys.

I respect Bryant's skill set, work ethic and love for the game as much as anyone else does. I also have to give Bryant props for the fact that he recently presented a $1 million check to the Call of Duty Endowment. But I just found the ad distasteful.

Don't get me wrong. I grew up playing first-person shooters, such as Golden Eye, Doom and Duke Nukem and love action movies as much as the next guy. I also find the commentary  that violent movies and video games have harmed our society to be overblown. But I think the commercial featuring a happy-go lucky vibe with ordinary citizens pretending to be in combat downplays the seriousness that real combat entails.

--Mark Medina

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