Home Is Where You Make It: Kobe Bryant, Brandon Jennings and Los Angeles

Recently Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks has been taking several shots at Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant.

Jennings began his anti-Kobe campaign after Bryant emphatically capped off his Drew League debut by hitting a game winner over James Harden when he tweeted “Kobe drop 45pts with the game winner. Yea where he at next I’m playing I need THAT,” accompanied by a picture of him wearing a black shirt that read “Nobody Likes a Snake.”

A couple days later, Jennings retracted his tweet; praising Bryant as the best player in the NBA and claiming he was joking.

As the storm began to settle, the very much one-sided Jennings and Bryant feud took another twist when the face of Under Armour basketball took to Twitter once more: “He [Kobe] wasn’t born and raised in LA. You gotta be from LA to play for Drew. Show me a birth certificate.

By questioning Bryant’s hometown in his latest quip, Jennings has sparked a whole new issue, one I’d like to discuss.

Where is Kobe’s true “home”?

For those who don’t know, Bryant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and spent seven years of his childhood in Italy before returning to Philly, becoming a legend at Lower Merion High School.

But ever since Bryant was passed up by his hometown Sixers when they selected Allen Iverson with the first overall pick and Bryant dropped down to #13 where he was swooped up by the Hornets and traded to the Lakers; Los Angeles has been Kobe’s town.

To dispel Jennings’ theory, let me ask you this: which athlete do you instinctively associate with the city of Brotherly love. For me, it’s Allen Iverson, the man who was able to grind out a decade of individual excellence for the city, rather than Bryant, the man who was born in the city. Similarly, when you think Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant, the life-long Laker, comes to mind and not Brandon Jennings, who was born and raised in Compton, California.

Bryant’s love-hate relationship with his hometown was documented in a poignant E:60 segment. Kobe believes his personality derives from the city’s hard-working nature: “the humor, the thick skin, all that stuff comes from here.” In the interview, Bryant revealed he still considers Philadelphia home after all these years.

Unfortunately, Kobe’s love for Philly is unrequited, partially because he was an instrumental part of the Lakers standing in the way of the Sixers’ championship aspirations in the 2001 NBA Finals. Throughout the segment, Lisa Salters, the narrator, and Bryant discuss why the city of brotherly love shows their hometown hero no love, with neither never truly finding a concrete answer.

Next: Athletes and Their Cities

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