The Showtime documentary, “Kobe Bryant’s Muse”, is described as a documentary that “goes behind the stats to reveal the story of Kobe Bryant’s career, exploring the mentorships, allies and rivalries that have helped shape his stellar 18-year tenure in the NBA, and offering access to his daily experiences, his lifelong inspirations and the battle with his greatest personal challenge yet”. The Los Angeles Laker legend had an opportunity to not only promote that new documentary that premieres Saturday, February 28 but also discuss other things in his career during his appearance on last night’s ‘The Grantland Basketball Hour’. He was refreshingly honest during the one hour program in which he was interviewed by sports media personality Bill Simmons and NBA analyst Jalen Rose. There was number of candid moments throughout the program including some rare public vulnerability by an athlete who has been frequently compared to a NBA “assassin” and whose nickname “Black Mamba” describes one of the deadliest snakes in the world.
Perhaps the most eye opening moment of the ‘Grantland’ program was Kobe Bryant’s admittance of the difficulty he had relating to other children at a young age. Due to Bryant’s father pursuing a professional basketball career overseas, Kobe Bryant spent a large portion of his childhood in Italy and learned how to speak Italian at a young age. During the TV interview, Bryant admitted that “Italian was really my first language” and transitioning back to the United States at age 13 was difficult including admittedly having trouble reading and spelling. Relating to other children is something countless numbers of children continue to have difficulty with for a variety of reasons and Bryant’s story about not “fitting in” as a youth is important in understanding social development of adolescents.
Due to Kobe Bryant’s stature as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, there might be a perception that he has always been popular and socially accepted throughout his life. Often, great athletes receive significant popularity and notoriety at a young age because of the social status that being a great athlete can bring. Bryant’s admittance about his struggles as a child are an especially rare moment of vulnerability due to his public persona as a fearless and confident athlete. However, his honesty can be looked at as how important it is to respect the various backgrounds and interests that children have to make them more comfortable in social settings with their peers.