Thursday, April 8, 2010

ESPN’s E:60 Examines Kobe Bryant’s Estranged Relationship with Philadelphia

ESPN's award-winning primetime newsmagazine E:60 will go back home to Philadelphia with NBA star Kobe Bryant in the episode airing Tuesday, April 13, at 7 p.m. ET. The program, which launched in October 2007, combines investigative reporting, in-depth profiles of intriguing sports personalities and features on emerging star athletes. These stories are presented in a fresh and innovative format that incorporates producer/correspondent meetings.

Even though he was a high school basketball standout in Philadelphia, Bryant has never enjoyed a warm relationship with his hometown and has often been booed when his Los Angeles Lakers have played there. E:60 reporter Lisa Salters goes back to Philadelphia with Bryant and as they visit some of Bryant’s favorite places, learns that the estranged relationship may be warming.

“You can’t really think about any major superstar who has the kind of relationship with his hometown that Kobe Bryant has,” said Salters, also a Philadelphia native. “Their hometowns have a love affair with their superstar athletes, and they are the hometown hero. And it just hasn’t always been the case with Kobe Bryant. He considers Philadelphia to be very special. He goes back during the summertime, he has relatives there, he talks fondly, like any athlete would, about their hometown. But when you mention Kobe Bryant’s name, people will either love him, or they will absolutely hate him.

“There are a lot of different factors that go into why – one is just because Philadelphia is Philadelphia. It’s unique in that sense. It’s the city that booed Santa Claus.”

Salters reports that the Philadelphia fans may be starting to be more accepting of Bryant. “When the Lakers were in Philly earlier this year, there were some chants of ‘MVP, MVP!’ in the crowd. It was the first time I had ever heard it, and Kobe heard it, too.”

Here is a preview clip of the Kobe Bryant feature. (click on second video clip from side panel)

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