Kobe: The Story of the NBA's Rising Young Star Kobe Bryantby Joe Layden
Meet Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers' young basketball prodigy and the heir apparent to the great Michael Jordan himself. Here, for the first time, is the whole story of this incredible athletehow he became the great person and incredible gifted, driven player he is today. Follow Kobe's life from growing up as the son of an NBA player through his… See more details below
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Meet Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers' young basketball prodigy and the heir apparent to the great Michael Jordan himself. Here, for the first time, is the whole story of this incredible athletehow he became the great person and incredible gifted, driven player he is today. Follow Kobe's life from growing up as the son of an NBA player through his decision to turn pro at 17, his rookie season, the All-Star Game, and his amazing second year in the pros.
A must for every fan, Kobe includes eight pages of color photos, personal stats, and the rising star's career records.
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- 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.49(d)
Read an Excerpt
In the living room of his Parents' neat suburban home, a three-year-old boy is acting out a fantasy. He puts on his San Diego Clippers uniform--a miniature replica of the one worn by his dad--and frantically dribbles a tiny foam basketball around the room. A bundle of energy and exuberance, he bounces off walls, crashes into furniture. All the while, though, he manages to keep an eye on a nearby television set. He can hear the announcers broadcasting the Clippers' game. He can see his father striding powerfully up the floor, then gliding toward the basket.
Before long the child's world intersects with the one on the screen. He, too, is airborne. He leaps at a small plastic hoop and slams the ball through. As the roar of the crowd crackles through the television's speakers, the boy pumps his fists in the air.
It goes on like that for the better part of two hours, the child copying what he sees on the screen. He guards invisible opponents, swats away invisible shots, jukes invisible defenders. When Dad's team calls a time-out, the boy pulls up a chair, sips from a water bottle, and listens intently to an imaginary coach. He wipes the sweat from his brow with a towel bearing the Clippers logo, just like the big guys do. Just like Dad.
When his mother enters the room, he looks up at her, wide-eyed. "Mom," he says. "I'm going to play in the NBA. " She smiles and gives the boy a hug. She says nothing to discourage him, for she knows how fragile a dream can be. Especially the big dreams. As the game goes on, she watches the two of them, mirror images, father and son, and she thinks to herself...
It has often been said that if you aspire to acareer as a professional athlete, the smartest thing you can do is choose good parents. In just about every way imaginable, Kobe Bryant got lucky. He was born into a caring, loving family whose athletic roots ran deep.
His father, Joe Bryant, was a prep star who led John Bartram High School to the Philadelphia Public League basketball championship in 1972. Joe was recruited by some of the top Division 1 college programs in the country, including Maryland and Notre Dame. In the end, though, he decided to attend La Salle University in Philadelphia, so that he could remain close to friends and family.
While Joe was at La Salle, he began dating a young woman named Pam Cox. The two had first met while they were still in high school. Their grandparents lived on the same block, and occasionally the two teenagers would run into each other during family visits. Joe was captivated by Pam even then, and told some of his friends that one day he would marry her. But their romance would need a few years to blossom.
Interestingly enough, their first real date was preceded by a basketball game. Joe Bryant was playing for La Salle and Pam's brother, John "Chubby" Cox, was playing for Villanova. The two schools were both involved in a doubleheader one night at the Palestra, in downtown Philadelphia. Pam, a student at Clarion State, was in the stands to watch her brother play. But before the evening was over, she had turned her attention to Joe.
"I was sitting on one side and I see her parents, and she's sitting on the other side and sees my parents," Joe Bryant recalled during an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer. "And I was walking around to see her parents, and she was walking around to see mine. It was kind of like a Miss Piggy and [Kermit the Frog] kind of thing: 'Hey, how you doing?' That type of thing. That night we went out on our first date."
Seven months later, Joe Bryant married Pam Cox. In the spring of 1975, after his junior yearat La Salle, Joe decided to leave school and play professional basketball. In the 1990s, studentathletes commonly make this decision. In fact, in recent years the majority of players selected in the first round of the NBA draft have been underclassmen. But times were different in the 1970s. In order to enter the NBA before his college eligibility had expired, a player had to prove financial hardship. For Joe it wasn't difficult. He was a married man with a child on the way. His family needed the money.
There was no shortage of NBA teams willing to give Joe a job. After all, he was a lanky, 6-foot-9, 200-pound forward with the sensibilities of a playmaking guard. The Golden State Warriors drafted him in the first round, but Joe wanted more money than the team was willing to pay him. His tough negotiating stance was a gamble, but it worked out well. The Warriors traded Joe to the Philadelphia 76ers, who offered him a five-year contract worth nearly a million dollars. In today's NBA--where the average salary is more than a million dollars...per year!--that would be a laughably small contract. But in 1975 it was a staggering amount of money. And, as a bonus, Joe and Pam would get to stay in Philadelphia. He would play professional basketball in his hometown, and their children would be surrounded by family: aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. To Joe it was a dream come true.
Unfortunately, Joe's NBA career was not quite what he hoped it would be, in part because he did not fit easily into the role typically assigned to players his size. He was a flamboyant player who preferred dribbling and shooting to rebounding. Often he would stray far from the basket, into that...Kobe. Copyright � by Joe Layden. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Meet the Author
An award-winning journalist and bestselling author, Joe Layden has written more than thirty books, including The Last Great Fight, which was named one of the best sports books of 2007 by Sports Illustrated and the American Library Association. He is also the co-author of the New York Times bestsellers There and Back Again and The Rock Says. . . . He lives in upstate New York.
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