Diversion Podcasts and iHeartRadio Launch New Podcast I AM KOBE Featuring Tapes of Kobe Bryant as a teen
Diversion Podcasts, a division of Diversion Media, and iHeartRadio, the No. 1 podcast publisher globally according to Podtrac, today announce the launch of I AM KOBE distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network. This remarkable 12-episode series reveals intimate, never-before-heard tapes of Kobe Bryant as a teenager, exploring his thoughts, his dreams, and his goals. Hosted by Philadelphia journalist and author Mike Sielski, I AM KOBE tells the story of Kobe Bryant’s early years, weaving together these lost audio tapes with interviews from Kobe’s high school coaches, friends, family, and the figures who knew him in his youth, to paint an enthralling documentary portrait of the making of an icon.
Before he was a 5-time NBA champion, an 18-time All-Star, an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, a children’s book author, a husband, and a father, Kobe Bryant was a kid from Philadelphia. With the goal of writing a book together, teenage Kobe sat with family friend and confidant Jeremy Treatman between 1995-1996 to record interviews about his life at the time. The tapes would eventually be lost, only to be found in a crawl space nearly 30 years later. Treatman, who is a featured insider on the podcast, connected with Sielski to help bring these tapes to life in I AM KOBE, and through hearing them, listeners will find a rare, first-hand view on how the seeds of greatness were sown.
In conjunction with the podcast release, Sielski also drew from the tapes for the basis of his upcoming book, The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality, which traces Kobe’s career and life at Lower Merion to 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. The book goes on sale January 11, 2022 from St. Martin’s Press.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to present this rare inside look into Kobe Bryant’s formative years and tell his story through these never-before-heard tapes,” Sielski says. “I AM KOBE gives fans the chance to hear Kobe’s voice in a way they never have before, as we explore the making of an icon.”
“I AM KOBE is a truly compelling portrait of one of our most dynamic and fascinating sports icons,” says Diversion CEO Scott Waxman. “Diversion is incredibly excited to be collaborating with iHeartMedia, the No. 1 podcast network, to bring this show to the world."
“We are thrilled to team up with Diversion again to bring listeners this untold story of Kobe Bryant’s formative years,” said Will Pearson, Chief Operating Officer, iHeartPodcast Network. “To have access to this rare audio from Kobe himself makes this podcast unlike anything else out there, and we are excited to share ‘I AM KOBE’ with millions of fans across the iHeartPodcast Network.”
Episodes 1 and 2 of I AM KOBE from Diversion Podcasts and iHeartMedia will be available on iHeartRadio and all major podcasts platforms on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
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