Dive deep into the story of Kobe Bryant in the new “I Am Kobe” podcast, from iHeartRadio and Diversion Podcasts.
Episodes one and two of “I Am Kobe” premiered on Tuesday, Nov. 16. Hosted by Philadelphia journalist and author Mike Sielski, the 12-episode series utilizes never-before-heard tapes between Bryant’s high school years and first season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“The tapes journalist Mike Sielski plays in this podcast series aren’t from the later years of Kobe’s Lakers career when he was already a celebrity,” a synopsis for episode one reads. “They’re from 1996 and 1997, from when Kobe was a senior at Lower Merion High School, near Philadelphia.
“Some are from the weeks just after he graduated. And some are from his first season with the Lakers. All of them are from when he was still just 17 and 18 years old, when he was just beginning his path to glory. These tapes provide a glimpse of Kobe that few people had while he was alive. This is Kobe as he was. But more than that, this is Kobe as he was figuring out who he would be.”
Episode two tells the story of Bryant’s father, fellow National Basketball Association (NBA) player Joe Bryant.
“If you want to get to the heart of the Kobe Bryant story, you have to start with the Joe Bryant story, and that means you have to start with Philadelphia,” the episode two synopsis reads. “One of the pieces of Kobe’s story that tends to get glossed over is that his dad also played in the NBA.
“Joe Bryant spent eight years in the league. But throwing out that fact and then moving on doesn’t capture the full picture of Joe’s career. Because long before Kobe Bryant was a high school legend around Philadelphia, Joe Bryant was a high school legend in Philadelphia. And his legend was every bit as grand as his son’s.”
The sophomore podcast episode compares Joe’s scandal to Kobe’s.
“There was a difference between Joe and Kobe, between father and son. Joe ratcheted up his competitiveness, his will to win, only sometimes, when he absolutely had to. But, of course, this is the quality that Kobe is probably most well-known for — he was at that peak level all the time.
“Joe Bryant was arrested in 1976. Joe was charged with drug possession, reckless driving, and two counts of resisting arrest. The aftermath of Joe’s arrest wasn’t all that different from the aftermath of Kobe’s arrest for sexual assault all those years later.”