He recently opened up to Fabulous magazine about questioning his life of fame after he found himself smack dab in the middle of a paternity scandal with a fan, Mariah Yeater, who claimed he fathered her child. He remained steadfast that he never even met the woman, and she eventually dropped her claim.
But, as it turns out — according to Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun — when Bieber needed a pick-me-up and some convincing to stick to the music game another time, he looked to a pro athlete for some wisdom.
“There was a show in Orlando, [Florida] … It was a day where he had to make a decision if he was going to continue on or not, ’cause he was fighting,” Braun recalled to MTV News. “We were in Orlando. We had a sold-out arena show, and it had gotten to a point where kids were surrounding hotels, and you’re talking about a kid who is 15, 16 years old, and he went and did a show 20,000 people, sold out, but right before he went into the show, he was having a little bit of an attitude.” (Bieber played Orlando on his My World Tour in August 2010.)
“And he goes in the show, and he was fine, and he comes off, and I go, ‘What was that before the show?’ and he just broke down, and he said, ‘I can’t do it anymore. I can’t go outside. I can’t go anywhere … I feel like a spectacle all the time.’ And he was really struggling with it. You got to remember he didn’t want to be a star: I found him, and it happened.”
Bieber and Braun had a major heart-to-heart as he struggled with his superstardom, but the teen did offer one suggestion on how he might be able to come to terms with how he was feeling. “So, we had a long talk about ‘Is this what you want?’ He sat there, got real quiet, he looked at me and goes, ‘I want to meet Kobe Bryant.’
“And I was like, ‘Kobe Bryant? We just had this emotional conversation.’ And he goes, ‘No, I just feel like no matter what Kobe does, he’ll always be chasing Michael Jordan’s ghost, and someone the other day told me I could grow up in front of the entire world like Michael [Jackson] did, and I just want to know how you handle always chasing someone’s ghost that you’ll just never going to be able to catch.’ It was actually a pretty profound moment.”
Three weeks later, the encounter happened. Braun recalled, “They had a pretty intense conversation and something that I think Justin will never forget.”