Book Review

Book Review: The Rise by Mike Sielski

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the gifted copy.
Title: The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality
Author(s): Mike Sielski
Release Date: January 11, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre(s): Biography, Nonfiction, Sports

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.

My Review:

The Rise is an insightful biography about one of the world’s most known sports legends. Mike Sielski gives fans of Kobe Bryant a look at the basketball stars’ early life as a young boy working hard and dreaming of making his NBA dreams a reality.

I am a huge basketball fan and grew up watching the ”Black Mamba’ aka Kobe Bryant. I still remember where I was when I learned of the news of his passing. That day reminded me how much of an impact a single person can truly have on you. I have never known too much about his life leading up to his legendary career so this is a good book to understand where he developed the dream and how he got there.

Mike Sielski shares some new information about his early life including many parts about him trying to prove doubters wrong on the court, moments with his family, and even his academics. I am sure most of us have heard about his ‘Mamba Mentality’ and it is so fulfilling to see his attitude be just that even from a young age.

Surprisingly, Kobe had doubters in his life. When he claimed that he wanted to go straight to the NBA after college, many people thought it couldn’t be done. The times Kobe heard that only added fuel to the fire and the will to prove them wrong. It is so awesome to see his competitive spirit during his high school days. Yes, some may have called it trash-talking but he always backed up his claims.

Kobe was a gifted and talented player but he also put in the work. As you read interviews from friends and teammates, you understand how much he had to sacrifice. He passed up socializing for gym time. He knew he had the skill so he made sure he put in the work to always give himself the best chance at being the best.

I have never known much about his parents because of their rocky relationship. But you can’t deny that they supported their son. They put him with the right coaches and school. And they always made sure to stand up for their son. For example, when a reporter said that insinuated that the only way Kobe would ever get into college would be for athletics and not academics. His mother stepped in and checked the reporter because if he had done his research he would have noticed that Kobe succeeded in school.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I give The Rise 5 stars. Overall, I think that fans of the legend will love an insight into his early life. It’s a great biography and tribute to Kobe and leaves his inspirational mark on the world.

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