Beyond the Glory

Season 2 Episode 8

Kobe Bryant

Aired Saturday 9:00 PM Apr 28, 2002 on FOX Sports

Episode Recap

Some may wonder why someone as young as Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, 23, would have enough of a story at this juncture to dedicate to an hour documentary.

But, that's precisely what makes this profile of Bryant compelling — his age, the problems it created with teammates and coaches as well as Byrant's willingness, despite being a high profile public figure, to guard his private life.

Bryant's childhood was far from that of the average kid. Growing up the son of a NBA player, Bryant spent the first six years of his life in Philadelphia. But, when his father, Joe "Jelly Bean" Bryant signed a deal to play in the Italian League, Kobe and the family moved to Italy.

This was the first time in his life that he had to adapt to a different environment, but it wouldn't be the last.

For the next seven years, Bryant immersed himself into the new culture and language and in his favorite activity — playing basketball. After getting comfortable though, the Bryants were on the move again. Joe retired from basketball in 1991 and returned his family to Philly.

While Kobe felt at home on the basketball court, he returned to the U.S. from life as an outsider in a foreign land, to Philadelphia as a stranger in his hometown.

Once again, he was forced to acclimate to surroundings that seemed just as foreign. Given Kobe's game, he had no trouble proving himself on the court, but making friends was another story.

So Bryant went about being the best basketball player he could be. He spent all his free time practicing the sport he loved with his best friend, the basketball.

Now the two-time NBA champion and this year's All-Star Game MVP seems to be living the life only few dream of. Bryant wouldn't disagree with that.

But, he's also encountered skeptics. He seemed to be too young to make the decisions he had to make and everyone else seemed to know what was best for Kobe Bryant.

This Sunday's episode of Beyond the Glory hears Bryant describe the situation from his perspective and also talks to teammates and others around him, about the enigma he sometimes appears to be.

In addition to Bryant, people interviewed for this episode include: NBA players Eddie Jones, Rick Fox, Brian Shaw and Derek Fisher, Lakers coach Phil Jackson, Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis, former Lakers General Manager Jerry West, BryantÂ's former high school coach Greg Downer, high school athletic director Tom McGovern and high school teammate Evan Monsky.