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Why hasn't anyone written a Kobe Bryant biography?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, May 12, 2011.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I'm looking forward to Ian O'Connor's Derek Jeter bio that's coming out next week, and it got me to thinking which current icons haven't gotten the serious biographical treatment. Kobe is the one who clearly jumps to mind. Iconic athlete. Five titles. Lots of baggage, between the rape accusation and all the trade demand drama at times. Dad was an NBA player. Raised overseas. Just seems like a lot there.

    Is there some reason he wouldn't make an interesting subject that I'm missing? Seems like an obvious payday for someone like Mark Kriegel or Jeff Pearlman who write these things.
  2. Iron_chet

    Iron_chet Well-Known Member

    Could not get the pcture rights from Massengill for the cover would be my guess.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member


    How well did Pearlman's Bonds book sell? Not too well at all if I recall correctly. Kobe strikes me as falling into the same category: If you still like him after all this you aren't going to want to read about the warts, and if you're like 98 percent of the population and can't stand him you aren't likely to devote a good chunk of your life to reaffirming how much you can't stand him.
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Most sports books sell terribly. Pearlman's Bonds book (which I liked) came out right after Game of Shadows and I'm guessing that didn't help.
  5. swenk

    swenk Member

    A couple of reasons:

    --When you're writing about an active athlete, the lag time between offering the book to a publisher, writing it, and seeing it published is at least year, which is like a decade in athlete-years. Too much happens to keep the book relevant by the time it comes out, and publishers know that anything "big" will already be reported elsewhere.

    --The first question publishers will ask: "Is there anything new here?" Unless you're coming at this from a really fresh angle, what are you adding to the existing cache of material? I'll invoke The Jordan Rules here, which was a great example of telling a story that had never been told, even though it happened in plain view.

    --Book publishing is a financial mess. The big houses would invest in Kobe's own book, probably not a book about Kobe (unless you can address the "what's new here" question above). You can probably do it for a smaller house, for a small advance, which won't appeal to the big-name writer you would need to make the book promotable.

    And, as Mizzougrad said above, publishers do look at comps for similar books, evaluating how other books in the genre performed. A couple of duds wreck it for everyone. :mad:
  6. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    Yeah I'd expect a definitive biography only after Kobe's been retired a few years (maybe Lazenby, who did West's).
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    There are not many sports biographies that sell well.

    What was the last truly great biography that did well? When Pride Still Mattered?
  8. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I think you have to compare it to expectations. I would say that the Satchel Paige book was a hit, along with Jonathan Eig's Gehrig book. I think Jane Leavy's Mantle book did very well, just judging from the amount of reviews of it on Amazon. Also Kriegel's Pete Maravich and Joe Namath books.
  9. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I meant "did well" as far as sales. I know there's been a lot of great books out there, but they don't sell that well. I know Favre had a picture book on the bestseller list about eight years ago. If "The Blind Side" counts as a bio, I guess you could say that one as welll...

    Everything is subjective. I got Kriegel's Namath book as a gift, but haven't read it. I hear it's great, but I was under the impression that it did not sell well.
  10. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It sucks that we can't get access to sales figures. Least transparent industry I can think of.

    I think you're more right than wrong. If I were a publisher, I would never bite on a sports book. Never. And I've written them and so have you, I think.

    Ever done a book signing? It's depressing. People only come to celebrity ones. Because, essentially, people are pathetic.
  11. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    If all else fails, I'm sure this guy will either write the book or buy up all the copies so it will be a best seller.


    I'm guessing another problem is just how standoffish Kobe is with the media. I can't imagine he'd open up about the stuff we'd actually care about: His relationship with Shaq during the three-peat, his "issue" in Colorado and how he managed to keep his wife, his relationship with Jackson that caused the coach to leave that first time, and the time he went crazy time when the Lakers sucked but him and he pretty much controlled that team.
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I'm completely assuming that he would not cooperate. No one does.
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