From Diversion Podcasts and iHeartRadio comes a new original podcast called, “I AM KOBE”, hosted by Philadelphia journalist and author Mike Sielski. This remarkable 12-episode series reveals intimate, never-before-heard tapes of Kobe Bryant as a teenager, exploring his thoughts, his dreams, and his goals. Some tapes are from when Kobe was a senior in high school, some are from the weeks after he graduated high school and some are from his first season with the Lakers.
“I AM KOBE” tells the story of Kobe Bryant’s early years, weaving together these lost audio tapes with interviews from Kobe’s high school coaches, friends, family, and the figures who knew him in his youth, to paint an enthralling documentary portrait of the making of an icon.
With the goal of writing a book together, teenage Kobe sat with family friend and confidant Jeremy Treatman between 1995-1996 to record interviews about his life at the time. The tapes would eventually be lost, only to be found in a crawl space nearly 30 years later. Treatman, who is a featured insider on the podcast, connected with Sielski to help bring these tapes to life in “I AM KOBE”, and through hearing them, listeners will find a rare, first-hand view on how the seeds of greatness were sown.
In conjunction with the podcast release, Sielski also drew from the tapes for the basis of his upcoming book, “The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality“, which traces Kobe’s career and life at Lower Merion to the run-up to the 1996 NBA draft, where Kobe’s dream of playing pro basketball culminated in his acquisition by the Los Angeles Lakers. The book goes on sale January 11, 2022 from St. Martin’s Press.
ABOUT “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.
ABOUT MIKE SIELSKI:
Mike Sielski is a journalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer and was named the top sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is the author of “The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality” (Jan 2022, St. Martin’s Press) and the co-author of “How to Be Like Jackie Robinson: Life Lessons from Baseball’s Greatest Hero”. Mike holds degrees from La Salle University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.