Kobe Bryant Childhood
Kobe Bryant was the youngest of three children born to Joe and Pamela Bryant on August 23, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Before him, the couple was blessed with two daughters, Sharia and Shaya. Passion towards basketball was in his genes as Kobe’s father, often known as Joe ‘Jellybean’ Bryant was a professional basketball player and coach.
Kobe's father was a former player in the National Basketball Association with the 76ers. Interestingly, Kobe, a record breaking basketball star, was named by his parents after a type of steak seen on a restaurant menu, shortly before his birth!
Joe Bryant’s 16 years long basketball career took the family through Philadelphia, San Diego, Houston and even overseas to an Italian league. Joe left the NBA and the family moved to Pistoia in Italy, when Kobe was just 5 years old. There, he worked with the Italian Professional Basketball League for 8 years. Moving to Italy bonded the family further as initially, the Bryant family could not speak Italian and so had to stick by each other in a foreign land. Teaching sports to his children was a favorite pastime for Joe. Out of the three children, Kobe proved to be the finest student. He idolized his father and considered him his best friend. Kobe imbibed his father’s moves and the fundamentals of basketball as a young boy. He also enjoyed playing hoops and soccer. However, even at 11 years of age his options were clear as he chose to exclusively concentrate on basketball. Kobe got along very well with his siblings. All in all, a close knit family.
Senior Bryant’s career came to an end in 1991. The family shifted back to the United States and stayed in a high-status Philadelphia suburban area, the Main Line. Bryant was enrolled in the Lower Merion High School, Ardmore. On one hand, he lagged behind his peers due his ignorance towards the trendy metropolitan outlook and on the other hand, he was admired for speaking fluent Italian, despite being a black.
It was finally his first love, basketball that bridged the gap between Bryant and his fellow mates. As part of the high school team, he took them to greater heights of state championship. Adding to his finesse was his high school coach, Gregg Downer. Tall and accomplished, Bryant promptly became a starter for the varsity team and soon crafted a name for himself in greater Philadelphia. Bryant was not only a brilliant basketball player but was also a scholar, scoring an above-average 1100 on his Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
While it only took the late 1990’s to make Bryant a national star, he enjoyed being a local celebrity for years. Who knew then, that this was just the beginning and a glamorous career in the NBA awaited him? He was always vocal about his ambition to play in the NBA. Some suggested pursuing safer goals. However, his parents and his coach were always there to back his dreams and help him realize them.
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