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Kobe Bryant in Italy

Different basketball players have different backgrounds. Some players in the NBA are foreigners, and some are Americans but had left the United States for quite some time but still returned to their home town. Kobe Bryant is one them.

Kobe Bryant’s Father

Kobe Bryant’s father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, was also an NBA player during his time. He was a forward with the skills of a point guard. In the year 1975, he was drafted by the Golden State Warriors.

When the contract expired, the Golden State Warriors did not sign Joe back to the team, so he ended up playing for Philadelphia. Somehow, NBA was not for him. After playing for Philadelphia, he transferred from one team to another. He’s playing for the 76ers one season, the next season he’ll be playing for the San Diego Clippers, and the next season, again, with a different team, which was the Houston Rockets.

He only lasted with theHouston Rockets for one season and the Rockets did not renew his contract. Thus, Joe Bryant realized that the NBA was not for him.


When Joe Bryant realized that the NBA was not for him, he signed a contract with a team in Rieti,Italy. Joe, with his wife Pam, their two daughters Sharia and Shaya, and the youngest and the only son, Kobe Bryant, went to Italy. In Italy, Kobe Bryant, together with the whole family, started to learn to speak Italian.

They would practice different phrases every day after school, which helped them to become fluent inItalian language.

In Italy, Joe started playing professionalbasketball, and the career in Italy was a success. He finally hit his stride in the pro ranks. Joe regularly poured in 30 to 40 points a game. By then, the world of Kobe revolved around his father and basketball.

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He would accompany his father in his games and practices. Because Kobe Bryant’s idol was his father, he studied his father’s basketballmoves and mimiced them.

Joe Bryant became the inspiration of the young Kobe Bryant, he would dream on playing professional basketball when he gets old.

However, he was convinced by their friends in Italy that he would make a very good goal keeper in soccer because of his long arms, quickness, and leaping ability. But his love for basketball never faded, thanks to his grandparents.

His grand parents would tape basketball games in the NBA and send them to the Bryants in Italy weekly. Kobe Bryant got to show his skills in Philadelphia, when the whole family spent their summer there, where he joins summerbasketball leagues.

The whole family, then moved to France in 1991-1992 for the European season. This particular step of the Bryant’s life was pretty difficult because they would commute for two hours, roundtrip to their International school in Switzerland. After the campaign ended, Joe decided to retire and head back to the United States where he accepted an offer to be the assisstant coach at La Salle.


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