Kobe was only six years old when his father, Joe ‘Jellybean’ Bryant, retired from the NBA and moved the family to Italy to continued his professional career. Kobe would spend most of his childhood years in Italy, and during his time there, his parents made sure he gets the full experience. They decided to enroll him in an all Italian school, and soon enough, Kobe spoke the language fluently.
The transition to Italy wasn’t the easiest thing to adjust to; however, you’re not going to the end of the world. It’s Italy we’re talking about, amazing food, weather, and lifestyle. Kobe got accustomed to all of that very quickly.
Here’s a clip of 17-year old Kobe doing a class presentation in high school on how his transition in Italy went.
My parents basically told me. Kobe, you’re going to an Italian school, we want you to learn a new language, and, Italy became my home.
Kobe spent eight years in Italy, from age 6 to 14. He considered Italy his home and spoke the language fluently for years now. When it was time to go back to the States, when his father retired for good — the adjustment back to America was even harder than the one to Italy.
It was very hard; my father told us that he was retiring from the game of basketball and that it was time for us to come back to America. I didn’t wanna come back. It was very hard getting adjusted simply because I had a lot of trouble understanding English and the slang.
Kobe’s way to cope with the transition was — you’ve guessed it — basketball, basketball and more basketball.
Unfortunately, because of the lack of communication with my peers, I wasn’t invited to parties. So Fridays and Saturdays, I was going to my rec room, with my basketball and basically dribbling myself to sleep.”