Kobe Bryant in an interview with Graham Bensinger of Yahoo! Sports published on the website Sunday, July 15, 2012.

Kobe Bryant in an interview with Graham Bensinger of Yahoo! Sports published on the website Sunday, July 15, 2012. (InDepth with Graham Besinger, Yahoo! Sports)

Kobe Bryant has been mostly quiet about the darkest period of his life. It was nine years ago that Bryant publically declared his innocence in a sexual assault case and apologized to his wife, Vanessa.

In the summer of 2003, Bryant was accused of raping a 19-year-old hotel employee in Eagle, Colo.

In an interview on InDepth with Graham Bensinger on Yahoo! Sports, Bryant talked about that time in his life and facing an uncertain future.

"It was extremely difficult," Bryant said. "You have to kind of do some soul searching because you're fighting numerous battles at the same time, and you're kind of just trying to figure out your way through this mess.

"There were times the days seemed endless, that this is never going to end, this feeling, this dark time is never going to be over."

In September 2004, the charges against Bryant were dismissed. His accuser filed a civil suit. The two sides ultimately settled.

Bryant said having no control over a situation was extremely difficult.

"That's real pressure, that's life pressure. It's not hitting a game-winning shot & that's not pressure," Bryant said. "You really just have to let it go. I think to do that, you instantly have to mature to be able to put yourself in that emotional space where you can trust the process."

Despite some people advising otherwise, Bryant never stopped playing, even going from court appearance in Colorado during the day to playing on the court at Staples Center that same night.

"Basketball has always been my escape, it's always been the place of refuge for me, so why should I take that away now? If anything, the game is going to keep me sane, keep me stable and help me to be able to manage these various situations," he said.

While Bryant's basketball career thrived after the sexual assault case, with him winning his only league MVP and two more NBA championships, his marriage has had its ups and downs. Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce last December, but she hasn't signed documents to finalize it. They are reportedly trying to reconcile.

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