A rare public appearance in midst of turmoil

Updated: August 3, 2003, 4:15 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- In a rare public appearance since he was charged with sexual assault, Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa attended the 2003 Teen Choice Awards, where he was honored as favorite male athlete.

The show was taped Saturday night at the Universal Amphitheater, and media were prevented from recording Bryant's acceptance speech.

The Los Angeles Lakers' star held his fist in the air after claiming his trophy, a multicolored surfboard emblazoned with the words ``Teen Choice Awards 2003.'' He also won last year.

Bryant made a peace sign with his fingers and a thumbs-up gesture, and waved to fans on the arrivals line. He also kissed his wife's hand.

The Bryants attended the ESPY awards July 16, two days before prosecutors announced he was being charged.

The 24-year-old basketball star has said he had sex with a 19-year-old employee at a Colorado resort June 30 but denies her claims of sexual assault. He's free on $25,000 bond.

The Teen Choice Awards was taped for broadcast Aug. 6 on the Fox network. That's the same day Bryant is due in court for a hearing on the charges.

Votes for favorite actors, musicians and athletes were cast on forms published in Teen People and made available on the Internet through America Online.

Winners were chosen from the top four vote receivers in each category by a committee of AOL, Teen People and Fox representatives. Spokesmen for the companies did not return calls seeking comment Sunday on whether the winners were chosen before or after accusations against Bryant were made public.

ALSO SEE