One in millions

Cover of the book Showboat, by Roland Lazenby.

Millions of children born in the last quarter of the 20th century wanted to be Michael Jordan. At least one did. Kobe Bean Bryant came to the world in Philadelphia in 1978. He made his debut with the Los Angeles Lakers in December 1996. At the Charlotte Coliseum. He threw a triple. He made it. Then came a career with impressive numbers: five NBA rings, two Olympic golds, 18 times All-Star and fourth player who has scored the most points in the history of American competition – behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Lebron James; ahead of Jordan. He reached 81 points in a game. Another fact for the newspaper library: in his 20-year career he only wore the Lakers jersey.

Showboat (Dome), by sports journalist Roland Lazenby, is a biography of Bryant that lasts until his retirement in 2016. The title of the book refers to the nickname given to him by his then-colleague Shaquille O’Neal, and that the change would mean “you win to attract attention ”. Bryant hated that nickname and, after being accused of rape and reaching an out-of-court settlement with the victim, decided to change it to Black Mamba — note how influential you have to be not just to assign a nickname to yourself, but to correct an existing one and at such a complex time – a snake whose fame spread through the film Kill Bill. Bryant saw his competitive and ruthless nature reflected in the animal.

The book portrays a complex and certainly attractive personality, of someone who was always clear about his goal: to be the greatest of all time. With a brutal self-confidence, talent, professionalism and capacity for effort and suffering. With a tendency to conflict – with his family, with his colleagues, with the sports brand that opted for him in the beginning …-. Bryant died in January 2020 along with eight other people in a helicopter crash. His death had a worldwide impact. Millions of kids grown up at the beginning of this century want to play like Kobe Bryant.

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