I Am Kobe

I Am Kobe

How did Kobe Bryant craft the passion, the determination, and the strength to become a legend? This remarkable series reveals intimate, never-before-heard tapes of Kobe as a teenager, exploring his thoughts, his dreams, and his goals. Philadelphia journalist Mike Sielski tells the story of Kobe Bryant’s early years, weaving together these tapes and speaking with Kobe’s high school coaches, his friends, his family, and the figures who knew him in his youth, to paint an enthralling documentary portrait of the making of an icon.

Before he was an outsized global basketball celebrity for the Los Angeles Lakers, a 5-time NBA champion, an 18-time All-Star, an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, a children’s-book author, a husband, a father, and sometimes a lightning rod for controversy, Kobe Bryant was a kid from Philadelphia.

“In Mike Sielski’s sensitive reporting and crisp writing, we see the closest account you will ever read of a sure thing.” —Mark Bowden, bestselling author of Black Hawk Down, The Best Game Ever, and Killing Pablo.

Cover photo © Eileen Blass – USA TODAY NETWORK

“I Am Kobe” is a production of Diversion Podcasts, in association with iHeartRadio. This season is written and hosted by Mike Sielski. Produced by Jacob Bronstein and directed by Mark Francis. Story editing by Jacob Bronstein with editorial direction from Scott Waxman. Editing, mixing, and sound design by Mark Francis. Production Assistant: Stephen Tompkins. Our theme music is “Create Yourself” by Grover Braam and Justin Starling. Music Supervisor: Scott Velasquez, for Frisson Sync. Executive Producers: Mark Francis and Scott Waxman.

Thanks to Oren Rosenbaum, Susan Canavan, and Jeremy Treatman.

Special acknowledgment to the Bryant family and those who knew Kobe for making this series possible.


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Mike Sielski
Mike Sielski

Mike Sielski is a journalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer and was named the top sports columnist in America by the Sports Editors of the Associated Press. Born and raised just outside Philadelphia, Mike holds degrees from La Salle University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is the author of The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality, Fading Echoes: A True Story of Rivalry and Brotherhood from the Football Field to the Fields of Honor and the co-author of How to Be Like Jackie Robinson: Life Lessons from Baseball’s Greatest Hero.

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