Diversion Podcasts and iHeartRadio to Launch New Podcast I AM KOBE Featuring Never-Before-Heard Tapes of Kobe Bryant as a Teenager

Journalist and Author Mike Sielski will host the podcast series

featuring interviews from people who knew young Kobe best

Episodes 1 & 2 will premiere on November 16, 2021

Listen to the I AM KOBE Trailer HERE

NEW YORK, NY (November 9, 2021) -- Diversion Podcasts, a division of Diversion Media, and iHeartRadio, the No. 1 podcast publisher globally according to Podtrac, today announce the launch of I AM KOBE distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network. This remarkable 12-episode series reveals intimate, never-before-heard tapes of Kobe Bryant as a teenager, exploring his thoughts, his dreams, and his goals. Hosted by Philadelphia journalist and author Mike Sielski, I AM KOBE tells the story of Kobe Bryant’s early years, weaving together these lost audio tapes with interviews from Kobe's high school coaches, friends, family, and the figures who knew him in his youth, to paint an enthralling documentary portrait of the making of an icon.

Before he was a 5-time NBA champion, an 18-time All-Star, an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, a children’s book author, a husband, and a father, Kobe Bryant was a kid from Philadelphia. With the goal of writing a book together, teenage Kobe sat with family friend and high school basketball coach Jeremy Treatman between 1995-1996 to record interviews about his life at the time. The tapes would eventually be lost, only to be found in a crawl space nearly 30 years later. Treatman, who is a featured insider on the podcast, connected with Sielski to help bring these tapes to life in I AM KOBE, and through hearing them, listeners will find a rare, first-hand view on how the seeds of greatness were sown.

In conjunction with the podcast release, Sielski also drew from the tapes for the basis of his upcoming book, The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality, which traces Kobe’s career and life at Lower Merion to the run-up to the 1996 NBA draft, where Kobe’s dream of playing pro basketball culminated in his acquisition by the Los Angeles Lakers. The book goes on sale January 11, 2022 from St. Martin's Press.

"I am grateful to have the opportunity to present this rare inside look into Kobe Bryant's formative years and tell his story through these never-before-heard tapes," Sielski says. "I AM KOBE gives fans the chance to hear Kobe's voice in a way they never have before, as we explore the making of an icon."

“I AM KOBE is a truly compelling portrait of one of our most dynamic and fascinating sports icons,” says Diversion CEO Scott Waxman. “Diversion is incredibly excited to be collaborating with iHeartMedia, the No. 1 podcast network, to bring this show to the world."

"We are thrilled to team up with Diversion again to bring listeners this untold story of Kobe Bryant's formative years,” said Will Pearson, Chief Operating Officer, iHeartPodcast Network. “To have access to this rare audio from Kobe himself makes this podcast unlike anything else out there, and we are excited to share ‘I AM KOBE’ with millions of fans across the iHeartPodcast Network."

Episodes 1 and 2 of I AM KOBE from Diversion Podcasts and iHeartMedia will be available on iHeartRadio and all major podcasts platforms on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.

ASSETS: High-resolution artwork is available HERE  

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About Mike Sielski | Headshot:                                                   

Mike Sielski is a journalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer and was named the top sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is the author of The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality (Jan 2022, St. Martin’s Press) and the co-author of How to Be Like Jackie Robinson: Life Lessons from Baseball's Greatest Hero. Mike holds degrees from La Salle University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

About Diversion Podcasts                                                                   

Diversion Podcasts creates immersive non-fiction audio stories that engage and amaze listeners. Through rare primary source interviews, elegant sound design, and author perspectives unavailable anywhere else, Diversion’s informative and entertaining productions take you deep into worlds and introduce you to characters you’ll never forget. From sports to spies, from true crime to true adventure, across history, music, and even war, Diversion brings real stories to life. For more information visit DiversionPodcasts.com

About iHeartMedia, Inc.

iHeartMedia (NASDAQ: IHRT) is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month. It consists of three business groups.

With its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. Its leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms, including more than 860 live broadcast stations in over 160 markets nationwide; its National Sales organization; and the company’s live and virtual events business. It also includes Premiere Networks, the industry’s largest Networks business, with its Total Traffic and Weather Network (TTWN); and BIN: Black Information Network, the first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service for the Black community. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics, targeting and attribution for its marketing partners with its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products using data from its massive consumer base.

The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the company’s fast-growing podcasting business -- iHeartMedia is the number one podcast publisher in downloads, unique listeners, revenue and earnings -- as well as its industry-leading iHeartRadio digital service, available across more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; its digital advertising technology companies; and its audio industry-leading social media footprint.

The company’s Audio & Media Services reportable segment includes Katz Media Group, the nation’s largest media representation company, and RCS, the world's leading provider of broadcast and webcast software.

Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.