The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality

Mike Sielski. St. Martin’s, $29.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-27572-1
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Sielski (Fading Echoes) presents a riveting chronicle of the life of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant (1978–2020) from his youth up to when “great things” were just beginning to happen. Using previously unpublished interviews between Bryant and Jeremy Treatman—a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer who went from covering Bryant’s promising high school basketball career to becoming one of his “most trusted confidants”—Sielski tracks “the tail of Kobe’s comet” from the 1980s, when he played under the tutelage of his father, former Philadelphia 76ers star Joe Bryant, to leading his Pennsylvania high school basketball team to a championship, up to the pivotal moment when he was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of a passionate athlete with an oversize ego and ambition matched by generational talent, accompanied by shyness, and a regular-kid persona off the court. In highlighting others who’ve influenced Bryant—among them his 10th grade English teacher, Jeanne Mastriano, who taught him and his classmates to “develop flexibility and confidence” through storytelling—and not neglecting his occasional bad behavior, such as yelling at one coach as a kid, Sielski lends pathos to a celebrity player known for stoicism in the face of pain. Fans will relish this nuanced take on an oft-overlooked part of the legend’s remarkable story. Agent: Susan Canavan, Waxman Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/20/2021
Release date: 01/11/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
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