Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Many remember him as the Mamba, in his long illustrious career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He is one of the 3 players to be included in the GOAT conversations with Michael Jordan and LeBron James. However, the 18x NBA All-Star didn’t receive the start he would’ve wished for. Nonetheless, his struggles instilled in him a sort of mentality, which inspired a generation.
Kobe was born in a household, where sports had great value. His father Joe Bryant and maternal uncle John Cox played professional basketball. Joe was an NBA player and played in the league for 8 seasons. Seeing his father play in the NBA, was enough reason for a young Kobe to decide what he wanted to do in life.
Before he could know it, the Charlotte Hornets came knocking on Bryant’s door. The Hornets drafted the young high school star 13th overall at the 1996 NBA Draft.
As soon as he was drafted by the Magic, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where his name would be immortalized. Kobe finished his career with 5 NBA titles, 2x Finals MVPs, and a regular season MVP. He was selected 18 times in the All-Star, and also included in the NBA 75th Anniversary team. This looks all fancy and pleasing to the eye, however, nothing was given to Kobe, and he had to earn everything he has.
Kobe Bryant grew up in Italy from the age of 6
In 1984, when Kobe was just a 6-year-old, he had to move to Italy, as his father didn’t receive any contract offer from any team. This decision impacted Joe’s family as he had to earn for the family and found an opportunity in Italy. This had a crushing impact on Kobe, whose dream to play in the NBA looked further away. Kobe went to Italy, and at the time soccer was a popular choice of sport among kids his age.
Kobe attended an Italian school and was the only African-American child in school, which made him feel like an outsider. Italian kids would often play soccer on basketball courts and set up goalposts right underneath the hoop. This restricted Kobe from developing his skills, however, Kobe was determined to play basketball. Eventually, he found a spot at a church playground, which had a hoop for him to play.
Kobe snuck out of his house to go to the church playground and practice basketball. Nonetheless, Kobe started working on his skills and had the opportunity to play organized basketball. Every Kobe and his family would go to Philadelphia, where he would participate in the Sonny Hill Future League. He joined the league and unfortunately for Kobe, it was a bust, as he couldn’t manage to score a single point.
This heartbreak crushed the young Kobe, it’s where he sought strength by looking at Michael Jordan. Disheartened as he may, he started idolizing Jordan, who had similar circumstances and went on to become the greatest player in the NBA. This fueled a newfound hunger in Kobe who returned to the league the next season and drastically improved his game while staying in Italy.
When Kobe went to the league in his 3rd summer, he dominated his competitors and was the best player in the league. This newfound belief instilled in Kobe a strong belief and desire to be the best. Despite all the adversaries and hardships, Kobe fought his way and the rest is history.
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