NONFICTION

Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant

Little, Brown. Oct. 2016. 640p. notes. index. ISBN 9780316387248. $32; ebk. ISBN 9780316387279. SPORTS
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Lazenby (Michael Jordan: The Life) chronicles basketball superstar Kobe Bryant's pursuit for greatness, from his childhood in Italy to his last NBA game in 2016. Bryant (b. 1978) was exposed to professional basketball at an early age, as his father Joe "Jellybean" Bryant played for the Philadelphia 76ers. After winning a state championship in high school, Bryant decided to forgo college, being drafted by the NBA at age 17 and spending his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers, from 1996 to 2006. His relentless work ethic and strong personality led him to five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, an 81-point game, and countless other accomplishments. These same attributes alienated him from coaches and teammates, most notably Shaquille O'Neal. Despite his success on the court, Bryant's once close relationship with his family dissolved over money issues. Lazenby recounts the details behind the rape charges against Bryant, which threatened his career and marriage. He also provides insight into the shoe wars between Nike and Adidas, the inner workings of the Lakers' organization and the culture of the NBA.
VERDICT While all basketball fans will learn something new from this biography, it is especially recommended for die-hard fans of Bryant or the Lakers.
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