It is no secret that Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant spent some of his early years in Italy, with his father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant moving their family there to play basketball. With that said, it’s no surprise why the NBA great is held in high regard in the country.
On Thursday, AMG Sebastiani Rieti — the first club Joe played for — raised Kobe’s No. 24 Lakers jersey to the rafters following his death in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California.
To recall, Joe Bryant was a former first-round pick in the 1975 NBA Draft, but his basketball career would eventually take him to Europe. The elder Bryant played seven seasons in the A1 League and Italian A2 League.
Of course, Kobe’s love for the game blossomed in Italy, where he starred for a number of youth teams before the family moved back to the United States in 1991.
Claudio Lavanga of NBC wrote a piece about Bryant’s upbringing in Italy in which one of his friends and former teammates said Kobe “never lost touch” with childhood friends. The former Lakers superstar also visited in 2016 for a sponsored event.
In many ways, Kobe Bryant was one of Italy’s own. Now, he is forever immortalized with AMG Sebastiani Rieti.
source: clutch points
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