Kobe Bryant, the now controversial basketball prodigy started from humble beginnings. Born in Philadelphia, and raised in Rieti, Italy, Kobe always had a passion for basketball. His father, Joe "Jelly Bean Joe" Bryant, played professional basketball all over the states and in Europe. His father's basketball career dictated and ruled most of his childhood. As a teenager, Kobe really developed his skills and love for the game, while playing for his high school team. Once out of high school he rejected the norm, and set his own precedence by going straight to the National Basketball Association. Inspired by basketball icons before him such as Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, he knew where he wanted to go with his career. Dedicated to becoming the best, he spent hours practicing to look just like his heroes and the stars in the world of basketball. Eventually his hard work and dedication paid off as he is now a star himself, playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite the ups and downs he faced growing up, and the controversies he has faced as a professional basketball player, his love for the sport has never wavered.
His father played a major role in developing Kobe's love and talent. Joe Bryant played professional basketball and dragged his family around wherever he was signed to play. This was the reason for the all of the traveling when Kobe was young. He grew up watching his father thrill crowds with his thunderous dunks and no look passes. This greatly affected Kobe Bryant in many ways, most importantly observing the lifestyle of his father inspired Kobe to follow in his father's footsteps. His father put a basketball in his hands as soon as he could stand up straight, and by his third birthday he was already telling people he would be an NBA star. While throughout his life many doubted that Kobe would one day be great, he always knew that he would make it. Kobe often watched and analyzed tapes of already great players like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson.