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Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,176 ratings  ·  115 reviews
Finalist for the Cross British Sports Biography of the Year Award in the UK "With surgical precision, Roland Lazenby expertly dissects the life of this generation's most fascinating basketball player. What made Kobe Bryant tick so loud for so long? Lazenby shows you with a tour de force in reporting and an intimate inspection at Bryant's trials, accomplishments and tribula ...more
Hardcover, 625 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Little, Brown and Company
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Selena Haskins I have not read any other books by Lazenby, but based on my disappointment with this one, I probably won't. …moreI have not read any other books by Lazenby, but based on my disappointment with this one, I probably won't. (less)

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Preston M.
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WOW. What a book. I knew Kobe was legendary, but I didn't know he was this legendary! Man, I loved reading this book. I'm a huge basketball fan, so it makes sense. The stories of some NBA players is just so great. So inspiring. Hard work always pays off. As they all say, #trusttheprocess #thatslowgrind. I recommend this book for all basketball fans. ...more
Ben Azadi
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Here are my to 3 takeaways from the book.

#1 Be Obsessed or Be Average. Kobe was obsessed with reaching his potential. What is your potential? Become obsessed with it!

#2 Be a Free Thinker. Kobe didn't follow the thinking of the masses; instead he created his own path. Be careful when you follow the masses, sometimes the "M" is silent. ;-)

#3 Turn Setbacks Into Stepping Stones. Kobe never let an injury, or any other setback dissuade him from living up to his potential. Remember that it isn't about
Selena Haskins
Jun 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
I've read many biographies in my day, and especially about sports figures, and this one tops being the worse of them all. How did this book receive 5-star reviews is beyond me! Then again, Roland Lazenby is a respectable writer, so I think his proteges gifted him 5-stars for GP. This is by far, NOT a biography but a history book about Philadelphia basketball leagues, history of Lakers, drafts, but VERY little about Kobe Bryant besides a plethora of basketball stats. This book doesn't tell you an ...more
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Although Showboat and Michael Jordan: The Life are by the same author, and about two very similar subjects, I found Showboat to be a much better read. I have been fascinated by Kobe's life since he wrote his retirement letter in a poem, "Dear Basketball", and reveled in that fascination in this book.

The part I found most interesting was how well Kobe was able to compartmentalize his life. He cut off his entire family, he faced one of the biggest legal trials a professional athlete has faced, bu
May 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed every particle of this read. Some people think that people are born great. No, that is not the case.

You may be born with talent, but as Kobe Bryant showed, you have to put in the uncountable, unfathomable amount of work every. single. day for every. single. year, over the span of decades.
Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it
How you evaluate this book comes down to this question: Does Kobe Bryant really warrant 550+ pages of detailed biography? Lazenby's Jordan biography is much better than his work on Kobe and that's not an MJ bias speaking. Despite Kobe's drama-filled career and criminal accusation/trial, this book lags toward the end even though it is riveting in spots, especially early on. In fact, the most compelling portions are about Kobe's fascinating father, Joe, and the insights into Kobe's childhood and f ...more
Stan Vlieg
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
R.I.P. Kobe

I want to make it clear that the rating has nothing to do with my opinion on Kobe but purely reflected on the poorly written method by the author.

If you want to read up on Kobe i think i would advise you to wait on the coming books. Surely there will be many soon. This book had a lot of quantity but sadly not a lot of quality. You can learn some interesting things reading this but the heapload of pages should have done a lot more.

Reading the sad news yesterday made me write this littl
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: basketball
Incredibly thorough book: the definitive biography of an iconic celebrity athlete of our time. This book reads well for both the diehard Kobe/Lakers fan and the casual sports fan, just enough basketball technical and contract talk and Lakers drama/analysis not to lose depth, but easy to read and friendly enough to non-basketball aficionados. Not just a blow-by-blow account of every playoff game that Kobe played in, although the most memorable games revealed fascinating background and postgame an ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'll start off by stating that I'm a huge basketball fan (maybe that's a given when you choose to read a 500+ page bio on an NBA star). I've always admired Kobe Bryant for his dedication to his craft and for standing by his actions/feelings (whether or not others agreed with them).

I previously read Lazenby's book "Michael Jordan, The Life" which I also loved, as I'm a long time MJ fan. With such positive feelings about the MJ book, I was skeptical that I'd like this one as much. But, I did. I l
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This will probably become the definitive biography of Kobe Bryant. This book was a very well researched book. At the same time this was an incredibly laborious read. The prose was longwinded and his use of sources was clumsy. At some points he seemed to be citing sources just for the purpose of giving them their chance to have their say. The pacing of the book was also strange. He spent a large amount of time on Bryant's family background and his high school years but sped through the years afte ...more
Przemek Kotowski
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am really disappointed with this book. Poorly researched, almost nobody from close Kobe's circle is interviewed for this book, and most of the content is cited from press or TV interviews. You won't learn anything new about Kobe himself. Nothing more about his personality, hobbies, or his life philosophy. I'm really surprised by the high rating this book was given by goodreads community. ...more
Matt Wolo
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are not maximizing your potential to be the greatest at what you do, then there is no reason for you to be doing it. This what the mindset of Kobe Bean Bryant. Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant does a great job of going deeper into Kobe’s life and family around him that impacted the way he approached basketball and life in general. Kobe’s mindset was to be a relentless, merciless work horse. He had this killer instinct that is only seen in the greatest basketball players of all time such ...more
Stevie DeNucci
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mamba Mentality
With over 30 years experience interviewing NBA players, coaches, and staff members, Roland Lazenby has become a best-selling author of biographies such as Michael Jordan: The Life and Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon. With titles such as these to his name, Roland Lazenby places himself in a qualified position to write Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant. Lazenby’s Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant focuses on the development of Kobe’s career, being raised by Joe
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book.

Having followed Kobe Bryant's career in depth (10+ years) this book still managed to reveal to me a lot of details that I hadn't known about him. Most notable were all the interpersonal and family stories and situations that were revealed - especially those early on in his life and career.

What I also liked about the book is that besides documenting all the well known achievements and notable moments of Kobe's life it also reveals how even the greats of the greats have
Nick Carrico
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
this is definitely a 4.5. A really good biography that taught me more about Kobe, and why he was the way that he was. My only complaint is that I thought it spent too much time in the past explaining Joe Bryant, Philly, and his early career. I enjoyed it to a degree because I didn’t know much about Kobe then, but I felt like covering the “24” Kobe was rushed compared to everything else. Overall though I definitely enjoyed it. Would recommend.
Charles Weeks
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book is basically an autobiography of Kobe Bryant's life, starting from his childhood to him retiring from basketball. If you are a big fan of basketball and/or Kobe then I recommend it. If you aren't then you may find this book boring and/or uninteresting. I really enjoyed it though and found it to be an interesting read because I'm a big fan of Kobe and I'm a fan of basketball in general! ...more
JD' D'Souza
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found this book at the dollar tree and began reading December 2019 wanting to read insight into Mamba Mentality. The following month Kobe Bryant would be no more. This was a great biography.
No mention of my favorite basketball player AC Green, a teammate that won the 1st championship with Kobe Bryant.
Bent Hansen
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This fairly long (500+ pages) biography about now sadly deceased basketball great Kobe Bryant has left me a little divided. I am usually a fairly fast reader, but this book took me forever to read, although it wasn't particularly boring or poorly written - the latter not at all being the case. For a book with (to my understanding) no new interview material with Bryant, the level of details and background is much too great for my taste - especially about Bryants dad's basketball career.
Some games
Norris Chase
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great detailed story

Kobe Bean Bryant’s story was captivating, personal, and full of life lessons. The author did much research capturing all angles of Bryant’s career and personal journey.

As a Kobe fan through and through, I greatly appreciated learning more about his approach to his work, life, and career. Sometimes seen as extreme, Kobe’s style of competition and decision making made him exactly who he was—the Black Mamba!

I highly recommend reading this book. No one could have willed themsel
Angelica LeMinh
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Because of the order that I am reading about Kobe's life (and the fact that I'm doing it all posthumously save that Duolingo article that I translated from Italian years ago when the app still had that feature), I feel that I am privy to noticing certain things that a reader at a different time and under different circumstances would. For example-opening the book at Jellybean's arrest and trial for running from the cops and having cocaine, in a car with a woman who is not his wife was really evo ...more
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Many Socratic seminars personal questions were asked, like " What were some of the troubles that person faced throughout their childhood?". I could not answer these questions because my book didn't give me this information. I finally figured out why, towards the end of the book. This book did not care about his life much, only what affected his basketball life. I figured this out when it came around the year 2006 and mentioned little of his daughter, Gianna, which I know was a very important per ...more
Eddie S.
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
'Showboat', a moniker that Shaq gave Kobe to describe Bryant's flashy style of game.

Overall an excellent book from start to finish. I honestly wish the book was longer. Similar to Michael Jordan's book, you get the prelude and family history of Kobe Bryant. Starting from Joe "Jellybean" Bryant and his turbulent start with the Philadelphia 76ers as a hometown star, up to the final game of Kobe Bryant, scoring 60 points giving his final speech as a Laker. This book covers all peaks and valleys of
Alex Devero
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Lazenby did it again. Another amazing and detailed book about one of the greats. Just like with Michael Jordan, Roland Lazenby delivered incredibly rich view into the life and personality of one of the best athletes, Kobe Bryant. This book does amazing job describing the life Kobe Bryant in an amazing detail. Going through his life, it vividly shows Kobe's personality, his drive, work ethic, competitiveness and obsessive focus on being the best. The book also show many key moments in the history ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Roland Lazenby has written an outstanding biography of Kobe Bryant. Although the biography is not authorized by Bryant himself, Lazenby's interviews with the people closest to Bryant add a great deal of understanding to what made him tick on the court and off. I especially enjoyed the quotes from Tex Winter, the legendary coach responsible for the triangle offense that Phil Jackson's Lakers teams ran. The interviews convey a well supported impression of Bryant as an astoundingly hard working and ...more
Qwantu Amaru
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Will and Skill

This is a remarkable biography of one of my favorite sports figures - Kobe Bryant. A complete telling of Bryant's journey to greatness, fall from grace, and return to the mountaintop. Very well written, I digested this book in 2 days. Couldn't put it down. If you are a Kobe fan, you need to read this book!
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Showboat clears so many misconceptions about Bryant and offers fresh perspectives and context to Kobe's entire life yet, has made Kobe relatable and less villainous by making him more understood, further cementing and glorifying the man who is too often seen as just a myth. Perfect for every Kobe and hoops fan. Lazenby's seat at the table of the best sports biographers of all - time is intact. ...more
Maxim Dilovski
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Another great book by Roland Lazenby. I hope, that will be able to write such a book for LeBron James after the end of his career come as he did for Kobe and Michael Jordan. The book is not only statistics, but a lot of personal details in Kobe's life, that describe his will, passion and love to the game of basketball. One of the greatest to ever play this game. ...more
Brian Wadman
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
All those years I really hated Kobe Bryant - his arrogance, self-love and narcissism, now I feel a kind of respect towards him and admiration for his willpower and determination.

Anyone who loves basketball should read this. Lazenby brings descriptive flair to the story of one of the world's most polarizing athletes.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a 600 page book and I flew right through it. Great insight into Kobe's psyche and what made people love (or hate) him ...more
Showboat. The Black Mamba. Ball Stopper. Villain. The Bad Guy. LEGEND. These are the many names used to describe the great NBA basketball player Kobe Bean Bryant. He is one of the most polarizing players to ever play in the NBA. From his aloof nature to his sheer iron will to be great, people take a hard line with him to either be for or against. I will admit my basis in this book review that I am for Kobe Bryant and his greatness. This semi-biography of his life only confirms what I believed ab ...more
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Book Review of Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant 1 3 Aug 16, 2018 05:56PM  

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Roland Lazenby is an American sportswriter and educator.

Lazenby has written more than five dozen nonfiction books, mainly about basketball and American football. He has also contributed articles to magazines and newspapers.

Lazenby's book Bull Run! was named Sports Book of the Year for 1997 by the Independent Publishers Association.

Lazenby studied at Virginia Military Institute and Hollins Universi

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