Kobe 'Bean' Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father was Joe Bryant, a former Philadelphia 76ers player. He was pushed by his father from an early age to take up basketball. He started playing basketball at the age of 3, and his favourite team was the Lakers.
When Bryant was six, his father left the NBA and moved his family to Rieti in Italy to continue playing professional basketball. Bryant became accustomed to his new lifestyle and learned to speak fluent Italian. During summers, he would come back to the United States to play in a basketball summer league.
Bryant earned national recognition during a spectacular high school career at Lower Merion High School located in Ardmore, Philadelphia.He became the first freshman in decades to start for Lower Merion's varsity team, but the team finished with a 4-20 record. The following three years, the Aces compiled a 77-13 record, with Bryant playing all five positions. During his junior year, he averaged 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists and was named Pennsylvania Player of the Year, attracting attention from college recruiters in the process. Duke, Michigan, North Carolina and Villanova were at the top of his list; however, when Kevin Garnett went in the first round of the 1995 NBA draft, he began considering going directly to the pros.