“Get This Spoiled Little Scuro off the Court!”: When All the Players and Parents Protested Against Kobe Bryant’s Brilliance at Youth-Level Games in Italy

Achyuth Jayagopal
|Published October 02, 2022

Former Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. who spent a considerable part of his childhood in Italy, faced racism.

Kobe‘s father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, was a former pro baller who spent around 8 years of his professional career in Italy. During this time, young Kobe ‘Bean’ also moved with his family and embraced Italian culture.

Bryant’s cultural integration included fandom for AC Milan and an appreciation for Italian sporting culture in general. After all, Bryant did spend the grassroots levels of his career cultivating his craft in Italy.

However, Italy isn’t really the home of basketball. An occasional Danilo Gallinari or Andrea Bargnani aside, Italy hasn’t really thrown up a lot of names into the big leagues.

Naturally, Kobe Bryant, who honed his skills under the guidance of his former NBA-trained father, stood out as a kid. And this did not go well with the other kids in the age group or their parents for that matter.

Also read: Kobe Bryant’s Team Beat Their Competitors by a Whallop, Showing Off Just How Much They Had Improved

How did other players and parents react to young Kobe Bryant’s game?

In The Rise – Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality, Mike Sielski provides considerable insight into Kobe’s pre-NBA career. Sielski talks about how Kobe dominated games and flashed stardom early on.

In Sielski’s records, Kobe scored the first ten points of his first-ever game. This drew the ire of fellow players and parents alike.

“He dribbled and shot and shot and dribbled and scored so many points – scored the first ten points in his first game – that the other nine players started crying and their parents started screaming to get this spoiled little scuro off the court,” records Sielski.

Scuro is an Italian word for dark-skinned. Racist undertones exist in such complaints, in a country known for “Ultras” as fans.

However, here, context denotes that they were probably just mad at their kids being absolutely battered by a foreigner at home. Also, we now know that iso-ball with Kobe was successful from Day one.

Bryant and his “ball-hogging” pissed people off from his time in Italy. But then again, if it ain’t broke, you don’t fix it.

Also read: Kobe Bryant, Who Invested $100 Million into a Venture Capital Fund, Snagged his First Sponsorship Deal as a Child in Italy

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About the author

Achyuth Jayagopal

Achyuth Jayagopal

Achyuth Jayagopal is a creative writer with The Sportsrush. After previous freelance dabbles in the industry, Achyuth has authored over 300 pieces for TSR. Having followed the game of basketball for a considerable period, he pledges his allegiance to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Beyond speaking his mind on all things basketball, Achyuth is a Sports and Gaming Lawyer who is an ardent Chelsea fan and takes a shine to the culinary world and travelling too.

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