At 17 years of age, Kobe Bryant was one of the first players ever drafted directly from high school into the NBA and well on his way to becoming one of the most famous basketball players of all time. His incredible talent and pure determination had a profound and lasting impact on the world of basketball, in the U.S. and beyond. But Kobe did not start as a basketball prodigy in the U.S. He spent his childhood in Italy, where soccer reigns and few of his peers played basketball; none of them with his skill and intensity. This story takes Kobe from shooting hoops in a church playground in Rieti to playing for the LA Lakers in the NBA.
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