Kobe Bryant struggled to adjust to high school in Philadelphia…


Kobe Bryant struggled to adjust to high school in Philadelphia...

Between 6 and 13 years Kobe Bryant lived with his father, Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant, in Italy. After spending much of his childhood in the country, Bryant spoke fluent Italian. The older Bryant decided to take the family back to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the younger Bryant would eventually play high school basketball.
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Adjusting to life in the United States was not easy, however.

ABC chronicled the life of Kobe Bryant through his superstar documentary series. The documentary featured commentary from various people in sports and the media who followed the Black Mamba throughout his career.

superstar also gave viewers an in-depth look at Kobe’s upbringing in Italy and his high school career. While playing in Italy, Bryant sometimes felt like an outsider. His father felt it was time to return to the United States, where his son would eventually hone his skills and improve as a basketball player.

He attended Lower Merion High School in the suburbs just outside of Philadelphia. Of course, he didn’t really know any of his classmates. “It was a lot to adjust,” Bryant said in an interview clip from the documentary. “I really didn’t know anyone. I was very shy, very reserved.”

It’s safe to say Bryant wasn’t in his element. He was just a little fish in a big pond.

One of the biggest hurdles Bryant faced during the early stages of his high school experience was the language barrier. Italian was his primary language, so more adjustments were needed to get through everyday life.

He stated that he had difficulty understanding English, as well as the slang used by high school students at the time.

Everyone spoke slang and I didn’t understand a word. Someone would say, ‘Stop making me sweat’ and I don’t know what they’re talking about.

Bryant also said he had a hard time making friends because of the disconnect. He was never invited to parties or other social gatherings, so he pretty much kept to himself when he wasn’t at school. Instead, he took his basketball to the gym and just dribbled all weekend.

Basketball eventually proved to be the gateway for him to finally make friends at school. Bryant went to the gym and played basketball with classmates during lunch and after school.

“Basketball is a universal language, so I was able to communicate that way,” he said with a smile on his face.

Prior to Bryant’s arrival, the Lower Merion basketball team was pretty much an afterthought on the state’s hoops scene. His advanced skills and maturity on the field gave the team the shot in the arm it desperately needed.

He was able to make an immediate impact on the court. Behind Bryant’s leadership, Lower Merion won the championship, breaking a 17-year drought.

At the age of 16 he already started drawing comparisons with Michael Jordan. He would break Southeastern Pennsylvania’s all-time scoring record and cement himself as a legend in the Philadelphia area.

Kobe Bryant’s career and legacy speak for themselves, and they began overcoming adversity in high school.

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RELATED: Kobe Bryant learned an important lesson about hard work from his high school English teacher long before he created the Mamba mentality

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