13 episodes

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.
Cover photo © Eileen Blass – USA TODAY NETWORK

I Am Kobe iHeartPodcasts and Diversion Podcasts

    • Sports
    • 4.3 • 109 Ratings

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.
Cover photo © Eileen Blass – USA TODAY NETWORK

    Legacy

    Legacy

    At the second anniversary of Kobe Bryant's death, we explore how the change in Kobe late in his career might have come about and what this “new Kobe” was like. We hear from Carmelo Anthony, future Hall of Famer, 9th-leading scorer in NBA history. And we hear from two players on Kobe’s hometown team: the Philadelphia 76ers. Mike Sielski spoke with Seth Curry and Tobias Harris about their vantage points on Kobe: what it was like to grow up watching him and what it was like to meet him and play against him. And more importantly, we spoke about why Kobe’s presence and spirit are still felt throughout the NBA.

    Purchase Mike Sielski's related book: “The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality": TheRiseOfKobeBook.com

    Join the conversation about “I Am Kobe” on social media: on Twitter and Instagram: @diversionpods

    Our theme music is “Create Yourself” by Grover Braam feat. Justin Starling: Listen to Create Yourself on Spotify

    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. Music Supervisor: Scott Velasquez for Frisson Sync. Executive Producers: Mark Francis and Scott Waxman. 

    Thanks to Oren Rosenbaum, Susan Canavan, and Jeremy Treatman.
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

    • 33 min
    Tricks of the Basketball Trade

    Tricks of the Basketball Trade

    Let's drill down on the physical and mental attributes that made Kobe Bryant a great basketball player--the granular stuff that basketball junkies love. We examine each stage of Kobe's life and career through the eyes of someone who knew Kobe well at each stage. We have three coaches with ties to Kobe to break everything down. First, you’ll hear from Ashley Howard, who grew up with Kobe and played against him when they were kids. He had been Jay Wright’s top assistant coach on two national-championship teams at Villanova, and now he’s the head coach at La Salle University.

    In Part 2 of this episode you’ll hear from Temple University head coach Aaron McKie, who played 13 seasons in the NBA. Aaron finished his career with the Lakers; he was Kobe’s teammate there for two years. But before that, he had to guard him a couple of times each season -- and throughout the 2001 NBA Finals, when Kobe’s Lakers beat Aaron’s 76ers.

    In Part 3 you’ll hear from Brett Brown. Brett has known Kobe for a long time and in a lot of ways. He game-planned against him and got to coach him in two NBA All-Star Games when Brett was an assistant under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs. He coached against Kobe in the Olympics, when Kobe was on the U.S. team and Brett was the head coach of the Australian team. And Brett was the Sixers’ head coach when Kobe played his final game in Philadelphia, in December 2015.

    Purchase Mike Sielski's related book: “The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality": TheRiseOfKobeBook.com

    Join the conversation about “I Am Kobe” on social media: on Twitter and Instagram: @diversionpods

    Our theme music is “Create Yourself” by Grover Braam feat. Justin Starling: Listen to Create Yourself on Spotify

    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. Music Supervisor: Scott Velasquez for Frisson Sync. Executive Producers: Mark Francis and Scott Waxman. 

    Thanks to Oren Rosenbaum, Susan Canavan, and Jeremy Treatman.
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

    • 51 min
    Remembering Greatness

    Remembering Greatness

    “Kobe Bryant dead? That can’t be." Kobe Bryant’s death affected those people who knew him when he was a kid differently than it affected anyone else. It's not that Kobe’s Lakers teammates or his friends from the NBA weren’t profoundly saddened by his death but the connection between Kobe and people like Jeremy Treatman and his high school coach Gregg Downer and his classmates and teammates from Lower Merion High School was something else entirely.

    With two years of distance from his death, we can see more clearly what we ought to take away from Kobe's life and his career. We see the value of passion. And determination. And an unwavering belief in yourself. We see his singular and blinkered focus on becoming the best — and his resolute willingness to work as hard and as long as he needed to to achieve it. We see how the people around him fostered and encouraged that focus. And we see the cost of that focus: the entitlement, the self-centeredness. And we see that that cost can be steep.

    We see, most of all, the everlasting effect that Kobe Bryant had and still has, on the people who knew him. For them, he’ll never really be gone. He’ll always be there: his scowl, his smile, his breathtaking talent, his relentless desire and tireless will, the kid he had been, the man he was becoming. Forever.

    Purchase Mike Sielski's related book: “The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality": TheRiseOfKobeBook.com

    Join the conversation about “I Am Kobe” on social media: on Twitter and Instagram: @diversionpods

    Our theme music is “Create Yourself” by Grover Braam feat. Justin Starling: Listen to Create Yourself on Spotify

    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. Music Supervisor: Scott Velasquez for Frisson Sync. Executive Producers: Mark Francis and Scott Waxman. 

    Thanks to Oren Rosenbaum, Susan Canavan, and Jeremy Treatman.
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

    • 48 min
    The Bond That Broke

    The Bond That Broke

    2001 was the year that Jeremy Treatman’s relationship with Kobe Bryant changed, because Kobe’s relationship with his family changed. 2001 was the year that Kobe married his wife, Vanessa, which led to a falling out between him and his parents, Joe and Pam. There’s been a lot of speculation about why the Bryant family fractured as it did. From what I gathered in talking to people who knew Kobe well back then, the problem came down to this: Kobe felt like he was ready to move fully into adulthood, to get married, and his parents thought he was too young.

    Jeremy’s relationship with Kobe evolved in the same way. He hadn’t been close just to Kobe. He had been tight with the entire Bryant clan. If there wasn’t a clean break between him and Kobe as Kobe moved on from Lower Merion and progressed in his pro career, there was certainly more distance between them. 

    It had been nearly 30 years since Jeremy met Kobe. It had been 25 years since he was there on the Lower Merion Aces’ sideline, celebrating a state championship with Kobe. But that special period of time was fresh in his memory. Kobe had been dead for a year-and-a-half, but he was alive in Jeremy’s mind and heart.

    Pre-order Mike Sielski's related book: “The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality" (1/11/22): TheRiseOfKobeBook.com

    Join the conversation about “I Am Kobe” on social media: on Twitter and Instagram: @diversionpods

    Our theme music is “Create Yourself” by Grover Braam feat. Justin Starling: Listen to Create Yourself on Spotify

    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. Music Supervisor: Scott Velasquez for Frisson Sync. Executive Producers: Mark Francis and Scott Waxman. 

    Thanks to Oren Rosenbaum, Susan Canavan, and Jeremy Treatman.
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

    • 55 min
    The Taste Of Fame

    The Taste Of Fame

    Kobe Bryant on April 29, 1996, at Lower Merion High School, in a packed gymnasium, made it official: He wasn’t going to Duke. He wasn’t going to La Salle. He wasn’t going to North Carolina or Arizona or Michigan. He wasn’t going to college at all. He was going straight to the NBA. The Charlotte Hornets took him with the 13th pick in the NBA draft, then traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers. With that announcement, Kobe Bryant launched himself into the stratosphere of stardom, and he would remain there for the rest of his life. But for many weeks before that press conference, he had already been tasting celebrity, getting close to it, seeing what it was like, and sometimes it was hard for him to handle. 

    There were two more major events that took place in Kobe’s life before his time at Lower Merion High School came to an end, and these events showed two things: one, that he was becoming more famous by the day, and two, that he knew he was becoming more famous by the day -- and he liked it.

    Pre-order Mike Sielski's related book: “The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality" (1/11/22): TheRiseOfKobeBook.com

    Join the conversation about “I Am Kobe” on social media: on Twitter and Instagram: @diversionpods

    Our theme music is “Create Yourself” by Grover Braam feat. Justin Starling: Listen to Create Yourself on Spotify

    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. Music Supervisor: Scott Velasquez for Frisson Sync. Executive Producers: Mark Francis and Scott Waxman. 

    Thanks to Oren Rosenbaum, Susan Canavan, and Jeremy Treatman.
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

    • 53 min
    The Mind of a Champion

    The Mind of a Champion

    The most dramatic Kobe Bryant story of his teenage years is the 1995-1996 season of the Lower Merion Aces. It doesn’t have to do with the NBA or Jerry Stackhouse or Kobe’s appreciation for his time in Italy or any of those things. It's about the community in which he grew up, the pressure that a young athlete feels to perform, and the joy that accompanies the achievement of a goal you’ve been chasing for years.

    Kobe said, "That's all I ever wanted. When I first came to high school, I knew I was a pretty good player, and I was going to work hard to accomplish all those individual goals. But, after going 4-20, I said, 'Hey man, I hate losing. There’s no way in hell I want to go through this again.' The next year, we improved. The year after, we improved. Throughout the whole time, I remember thinking, 'I want a state championship. I want to be known as the best--not only as the best player, but as the best player on the best team.' That meant so much to me. I just wanted to prove to everybody that I could carry us to a state championship."

    Pre-order Mike Sielski's related book: “The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality" (1/11/22): TheRiseOfKobeBook.com

    Join the conversation about “I Am Kobe” on social media: on Twitter and Instagram: @diversionpods

    Our theme music is “Create Yourself” by Grover Braam feat. Justin Starling: Listen to Create Yourself on Spotify

    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. Music Supervisor: Scott Velasquez for Frisson Sync. Executive Producers: Mark Francis and Scott Waxman. 

    Thanks to Oren Rosenbaum, Susan Canavan, and Jeremy Treatman.
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
109 Ratings

109 Ratings

Mooseyjoedabigdaddy ,

Kobe

This is a very beautiful podcast. I would recommend it to anyone who listens to podcasts. The reason why I gave it four stars is that the tapes ofKobe was not engineered towards the quality of the podcast. I had a very hard time hearing Kobe through the tapes.

Pammgramm ,

Poor sound quality

I was so excited to listen to this and found the poor sound quality of the tape recordings to be a huge distraction and simply couldn’t understand them. Not sure how in today’s age the background noise and buzzing couldn’t be improved upon. 😞

Ken gut ,

Interesting

Why to bunch commercials and music for a podcast

Top Podcasts In Sports

Dan Le Batard, Stugotz
Barstool Sports
Pat McAfee
The Ringer & Bill Simmons
Brandon Marshall, Chad Johnson, Fred Taylor, Channing Crowder
SiriusXM

You Might Also Like

The Black Effect and iHeartPodcasts
The Players' Tribune
ESPN, Religion of Sports
iHeartPodcasts
fubo Sports Network
Turner Sports