The inside look at one of the most captivating and consequential figures in our culture—with never-before-heard interviews.
Kobe Bryant’s death in January 2020 did more than rattle the worlds of sports and celebrity. The tragedy of that helicopter crash, which also took the life of his daughter Gianna, unveiled the full breadth and depth of his influence on our culture, and by tracing and telling the oft-forgotten and lesser-known story of his early life, The Rise promises to provide an insight into Kobe that no other analysis has.
In The Rise, readers will travel from the neighborhood streets of Southwest Philadelphia—where Kobe’s father, Joe, became a local basketball standout—to the Bryant family’s isolation in Italy, where Kobe spent his formative years, to the leafy suburbs of Lower Merion, where Kobe’s legend was born. The story will trace his career and life at Lower Merion—he led the Aces to the 1995-96 Pennsylvania state championship, a dramatic underdog run for a team with just one star player—and the run-up to the 1996 NBA draft, where Kobe’s dream of playing pro basketball culminated in his acquisition by the Los Angeles Lakers.
In researching and writing The Rise, Mike Sielski had a terrific advantage over other writers who have attempted to chronicle Kobe’s life: access to a series of never-before-released interviews with him during his senior season and early days in the NBA. For a quarter century, these tapes and transcripts preserved Kobe’s thoughts, dreams, and goals from his teenage years, and they contained insights into and told stories about him that have never been revealed before.
This is more than a basketball book. This is an exploration of the identity and making of an icon and the effect of his development on those around him—the essence of the man before he truly became a man.