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Rodrick Rhodes

Sport: Basketball

Born: September 24, 1973

Town: Jersey City

Rodrick Rhodes was born September 24, 1973 in Jersey City. Rodrick was raised by his mother as a single parent. When he was 9, she suffered a stroke and passed away. Child-rearing thus fell to his older sister, Gail, and older brother, Reggie. Rodrick wore corrective shoes as a child, but was always very athletic, and in Jersey City, that meant you were a basketball player—because everyone knew that basketball was a ticket out.

Reggie woke Rodrick up before dawn many mornings to work on his game. He would blindfold his younger brother and make him dribble a basketball. Rodrick sprouted to over 6' as a young teen, and was already dunking and talking trash in the schoolyards before he enrolled at St. Anthony’s. There he came under the tutelage of Bob Hurley. Over the next four years, Rodrick would become Kobe Bryant before anyone had heard of Kobe Bryant—a 6'6" guard who could run the point, pick an opponent’s pocket, score from the perimeter and drive through the tall trees for rim-rattling dunks.

The Friars were state champs in Rodrick’s freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. Among his teammates were Hurley’s sons, Bobby and Danny. As a senior in 1991–92, Rodrick was named Mr. Basketball for New Jersey, the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state, and everybody’s All-American—in other words, a blue chip recruit by any measure.

One of the schools interested in Rodrick was Kentucky. Rick Pitino had recently signed on as coach and had


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