Roland Lazenby captures the enigma and the excellence of the long-time Los Angeles Lakers star.

Who really knows Kobe? After two decades of dominance in the NBA in which he relentlessly pursued Michael Jordan, harangued team-mates and opponents alike, and pushed himself into the upper echelon of basketball’s history makers, we still wonder which of the many faces of Bryant are the most real.

NBA writer Roland Lazenby picked the mythology apart: of the unparalleled drive shown by a raw teenager that takes him to an All-Superstar level, to the conflicts that both moulded a championship squad but then drove it apart, to his family dynamic and the relationships that he held on and off the court.

His accomplishments are legion. 18 times an All Star. Five times a NBA champion with Olympic golds to boot. Scorer of 81 points in a game. But also a fascinating and complicated character, who grew up in Italy but felt at home among the riches and fame that LA offers.

Lazenby – author of an acclaimed book on Jordan – has delivered the definitive biography of the player and the man with insights from those around him that shed light on just why he held the hoops universe in thrall right up to his memorable final game. No sugar coating, just a taste of what it is like to feel invincible and to be able – mainly – to back it up.

Showboat – Orion Books.

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