Kobe Bryant loved the game of basketball.
An 18-time NBA All-Star, Bryant won five NBA Championships as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
A 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, 12-time member of the NBA’s All-Defensive Team and the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008, Bryant and was awarded the NBA Finals MVP, Bryant died in a helicopter crash that took the lives of nine people, including Bryant’s daughter, Gigi on Sunday, January 26.
On a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I checked in with Sacramento Kings scout, Adam Filippi, who actually knew of Bryant when he was a kid in Italy.
For those keeping score at home: Fillippi would late become a Lakers scout.
Fillippi tells me that Bryant would actually mop the floor during his father’s games in Italy and take shots post game.
Check out out Q&A below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You were with the Lakers from 2001 to about 2010-11 as a scout?
Adam Filippi: Yes. 10 seasons.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: When was the first time that you actually met Kobe?
Adam Filippi: Well I’ll go back a few years. But when I was a teenager, I used to admire watching Jellybean Bryant because I grew up in Italy and Joe played in Italy for about 8 years, and I remember when his team would come and play in Bologna and his family would always follow him. And you know Kobe was a little kid he would try to shoot, he would clean, he would mop the floor, and Ragamalika which was his dad’s last stop and Kobe’s most important place, where he would really started developing skills and a certain passion for the game. I would see him a few times and you could see wow, the kid’s really good we would say…maybe someday he’ll play in the NBA. Obviously we were joking. We had NO idea that he would be the best player in the world. But I knew Joe a little bit when I joined the Lakers, then when I finally met Kobe when I was officially a Laker when we were in training camp in 2001, they’re coming off the back-to-back, I’d been a consultant for the team but I was not full time because I was working for other teams also but what was interesting was that he loved the opportunity to speak Italian and when I got there and told him who I was, and for 10 years every he saw me we would speak Italian and it was kind of fun. Then we had another scout Irving Thomas who played in Italy also who spoke Italian, and then Sasha Vujačić came on board when he was drafted he spoke Italian so it was always kind if a fun thing that Kobe when got off the court he would crack a joke in Italian with me or somebody else.