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THE MOST KOBE STORY EVER “I just want y'all to know, nobody's gonna punk me”


September 22 was the publication date of Jeff Pearlman's Three-Ring Circus; a behind-the-scenes dive into the Kobe-ShaqLakers dynasty and their historic three-peat run. Here are some of the reviews:

  • “Pearlman is an amazing journalist with an eye for the revealing detail . . . NBA fans will absolutely devour this book.”—Booklist, starred review.
  • “Three Ring Circus is a sports-writing classic, reminding us all that greatness can be ugly up close. The book shines in its portrayal of a young Kobe Bryant, as Pearlman pulls back the layers of the polarizing figure to show what it is to ache to be great: the isolation, the loneliness, the super-human drive that such greatness requires before time, circumstance and age allowed him to evolve.”—Mirin Fader, Bleacher Report.
  • “It stuns me as a writer that somebody could find so many voices and so much detail for such a recollection. It must have been Jeff Pearlman who wrote this.”—Chuck Culpepper, Washington Post.

Add this to your must-read list of basketball-related titles - I sure will. If these great critiques aren't persuasive enough, here's a sneak peek of stories the book offers, and this one may as well be the most Kobe Bryant one of them all. It took place at the starting point of the Lakers dynasty, right after the team had just been assembled. That's when Del Harris asked each player to stand up and introduce himself to the rest of the group.

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'What's up? I'm Shaq. Let's do this,' said newly acquired Shaquille O'Neal. D-Fish followed it up with a simple 'Hey; I'm Derek Fisher. Rookie. From little ol' Arkansas. Ready to get to work.' Next. 'Nick Van Excel. Fourth-year here.' E.J. was up next. 'Eddie Jones, I'm from Florida. Went to Temple.' Next.

And next was 18-year-old Kobe Bryant, the first guard drafted directly out of high school. What followed was the most Kobe Bryant answer you can possibly imagine, and the building block of the fearless persona Black Mamba embodied.

"Yo, I'm Kobe. Kobe Bryant. I'm from PA -- went to Lower Merion High School, dominated everything. I just want y'all to know, nobody's gonna punk me. I'm not gonna let anyone in the NBA punk me. So be warned."

Jeff Pearlman, Three-Ring Circus;

As I said, add Three Ring Circus to your must-read list of basketball-related titles. There should be plenty more where that came from.

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