What most people don’t know, though, is that he’s Catholic. And that, according to a recent interview, his Catholic faith helped him through one of the darkest times of his life.
Born in 1978 in Philadelphia, Kobe (he’s known by his first name) was raised in a Roman Catholic family. When he was six, his family moved to Italy, to a small town an hour outside of Rome. Because of this, Kobe speaks fluent Italian to this day.
He was drafted into the NBA right out of high school, the first time a guard had ever been drafted that young, and he quickly became a star. Soon people were speculating about whether he was “the next Michael Jordan.”
In 2001, when he was 23, he married 19 year old Vanessa Laine, who is also Catholic. The wedding was held at St. Edward Roman Catholic Church in Dana Point, California. Two years later in 2003, their first child was born. READ STORY HERE
REMNANT COMMENT: Bryant was accused of rape in 2003--a charge he vehemently denied. He was, however, guilty of adultery, and although he and his wife stayed together for a long time after the scandal and even had another child together, Mrs. Bryant eventually filed for divorced.
Kobe credits his Catholic faith and a priest friend for having helped him put his life back together since then: "The one thing that really helped me during that process—I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic—was talking to a priest."
In 2013 Bryant and his wife called off their divorce and got back together. In retirement as of this year, one of the greatest basketball players of all time is a happily married practicing Catholic.
A living legend in a world that practices a form of sports idolatry, it's no wonder this kid fell a few times, and fell hard. But isn't it wonderful to see the grace of God at work even in this day and age, and especially in the very rich, glamorous and spiritually dangerous world of the professional athlete. May God continue to go with Kobe Bryant and his family.
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