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Mike Sielski

Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality

4.3 (233 Bewertungen)
22 Min.

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'The Rise' by Mike Sielski is a captivating biography of the late Kobe Bryant, exploring his determination, passion, and drive for greatness both on and off the court.


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    Kobe Bryant lived and breathed basketball from a young age – and made it his own.

    Picture the scene: a toddler cups a ball in his tiny hand and dashes forward, cheerfully slamming the ball into a miniature basketball hoop. He does it again and again, and each time, his face breaks into a huge grin. 

    That grinning child – you guessed it – was Kobe Bryant. The Kobe Bryant, who would grow up to be one of the best basketball players of all time. 

    So how does someone grow up to be a champion or, better yet, a basketball icon? Pure, raw talent is part of it, yes. But while icons are born, they’re also made. 

    Now, each icon has their own unique story. In Kobe’s case, it was his talent coupled with the favorable circumstances of his birth. Kobe Bryant was steeped in the world of basketball from the time he was a baby; his father made sure of that. 

    You see, Kobe wasn’t the first professional basketball player in the family. He actually followed in the footsteps of his father, Joe Bryant, who was a pretty talented player himself. Kobe grew up watching every home game his father played as part of their local NBA team, the Philadelphia 76ers – known to fans as the Sixers. Baby Kobe was as comfortable in the basketball arena as he was in his own home. 

    By carefully watching how his father played and lived the life of a professional basketball player, Kobe learned what to do. But more importantly, he learned what not to do. Because Joe’s basketball career was … rocky. 

    Although in college he was celebrated as one of the best players in the city, Joe’s career fizzled out once he hit the NBA. He started out playing with the Sixers, but was traded after a public scandal stained his name. 

    One night, police attempted to pull Joe over while he was driving. But instead of stopping, he sped away, resulting in a high-speed chase. When they finally caught up with him, they discovered two vials of cocaine in the car – along with a woman who was not his wife. 

    Along with his unpredictable performance on the court – mainly due to his whimsical play and lack of discipline – this scandal proved that Joe was too much of a burden for the Sixers. He was traded to a team in California, where he played for a short time before moving to a different team in Texas. But both were mediocre teams, and he wasn’t given a chance to shine. Finally, Joe’s contract ran out, and no NBA team wanted to sign him. At that stage, Joe had two choices: give up professional basketball altogether or move overseas, where his talents would be valued. And so he decided to move his family to Italy. 

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    Worum geht es in The Rise?

    The Rise (2022) provides an intimate account of the early years of Kobe Bryant’s career. It explores the influences that helped Bryant become so passionate about basketball and shows how his remarkable talent helped transform his suburban high school team into a state championship winner. It also reveals how Bryant carefully crafted his legacy from an early age, displaying an advanced media savvy he would employ throughout his career.

    Wer The Rise lesen sollte

    • Fans of Kobe Bryant interested in the early influences that shaped his career
    • Memoir lovers curious to find out more about the formative years of a sports icon

    Über den Autor

    Mike Sielski has been a sports columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer since 2013 and was named the top sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is the author of Fading Echoes: A True Story of Rivalry and Brotherhood from the Football Field to the Fields of Honor and the coauthor of How to Be Like Jackie Robinson: Life Lessons from Baseball’s Greatest Hero.

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