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Beethoven’s 'Moonlight Sonata' No. 14, Op. 27...the Kobe Bryant, NBA 2013 Version

By James Inverne on Aug 29, 2013 01:24 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant, NBA superstar, apparently likes to relax with a bit of Beethoven--played, at least sometimes, by himself.

He's even appeared in a Lenovo commercial tinkling the ivories in music by the composer, although, strangely, when Classicalite went to YouTube to grab the vid to share with you, it had been taking down pending a copyright-related complaint.

And another vid, some six seconds of Bryant playing Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 ("Quasi una fantasia") in what looks like a hotel bar, appeared online some months ago.

All quite impressive when you consider that, according to his own admission, he has only been learning to play piano for a little over a year. And the sportsman's view of the Moonlight?

According to his Twitter account, "calms me down...#relaxandfocus."

Makes sense. The long lines of the sonata, in fact much classical music, are known to have an effect on the way those who listen to it think.

Some years ago, the Cleveland Clinic did some research pointing to a conclusion that people immersed in music actually have differently shaped brains--that over time, the music effects the way their brains develop--and various scientists have suggested that listening to a stretched music architecture has an impact on our mental structuring.

In other words, listening in a linear, if complex way means that you can think in a linear and complex way.

So sportsmen--who can benefit from the ability to think clearly under pressure, work tactically and envisage the way a game develops--should surely benefit from some Beethoven and the like.

Some have, some do.

Fabio Capello, the Russian national football team manager (formerly of England, A.C. Milan and Real Madrid C.F.), is known to love his opera.

Same goes for rugby legend Brian Moore.

It goes the other way as well, as you'd expect for the (metaphorical) kill-or-be-killed dimensions of sport at the highest level.

An opera is being written about motor racing great Ayrton Senna. Mark-Antony Turnage used community football in Ireland as a launching point for his impactful horrors-of-war opera, The Silver Tassie.

One final example for Kobe Bryant, and it's nearly classical--there's a musical by John Grissmer, about Jim Naismith.

Who is he, you ask? The man who invented basketball, that's who.

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TagsBeethoven, Moonlight Sonata, Kobe Bryant, NBA, Twitter, Cleveland Clinic, Brian Moore, Fabio Capello, Ayrton Senna, Mark-Antony Turnage, The Silver Tassie, John Grissmer, The Classical

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