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Kobe Bryant Revealed He Had No Friends When He Lived In Italy: “I Had The Game Of Basketball And Through Sport And Playing Soccer, I Was Able To Make Friends And Build Connections.”

Kobe Bryant Revealed He Had No Friends When He Lived In Italy: “I Had The Game Of Basketball And Through Sport And Playing Soccer, I Was Able To Make Friends And Build Connections.”

Unlike a lot of American players in the NBA, Kobe had a unique childhood experience. Kobe's father was a professional basketball player who played overseas in Italy. As a result, a big part of Kobe's childhood was spent in Italy, growing up in a culture very different from the one in the United States. But things weren't easy for Kobe there, as he revealed that he spent a lot of time being alone.

In an interview from a few years ago, Kobe Bryant spoke about his time living in Italy. He noted that for a long time, he didn't have any friends while living in Italy because he was new there and didn't know the language. It was through playing sports like basketball and soccer that Kobe was able to make friends and build connections. But Kobe noted that a majority of his time was spent alone.

“Growing up in Italy, when I first moved over there, I didn’t speak Italian, I didn’t have any friends. I had the game of basketball, and through sport, through soccer, I was able to make friends and build connections. But it was a lot of time spent alone. When I came back to the states, I wasn’t the most athletic kid. I couldn’t compete with these kids. They’re doing windmills and dunking backwards, and I’m happy to tap the back board. So, I had to look at it from a long term, because I wasn’t going to give up on the game. So, I had to say ‘okay, this year, I’m going to get better at that. Next year, this’. And then so forth and so on. And then patiently I was able to catch them. It’s the consistency of the work. Monday, get better. Tuesday, get better. Wednesday, get better. And you do that over a period of time, not 1 month or 2 months. It’s 3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 10 years. And then you get to where you want to go. Obsessiveness comes from something that you love. You really love it, you’ll go through fire for it, you’ll go through the ups and downs with it." 

This story came as part of an interview that would become very popular, as Kobe delivered an emotionally motivating speech about working hard to make sure that you can achieve your dreams. It was Bryant's relentless drive and unparalleled determination that made him one of the best players in the entire league.

Kobe's time spent in Italy played a big part in the person and player he would become down the line. Being able to adapt to a whole new country, language, environment, and culture showed him how to overcome adversity, something he would become a master of when he was in the NBA for 20 years.