Call for Papers | “Kobe Bean Bryant” – Special Issue of Journal of African American Studies. Call ends April 2, 2020

Guest Editors:

    • Judson L. Jeffries, PhD
    • Jerrell Beckham, PhD

The Journal of African American Studies, a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary research journal published by Springer, is preparing a special issue marking the 25th anniversary of Kobe Bean Bryant’s NBA debut. Selected by the Charlotte Hornets out of high school in the 1996 NBA draft, Bryant was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the world’s most prestigious and historic sports franchises. Among Kobe’s achievements are five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, and an 81-point scoring outburst—the second largest scoring effort in a single NBA game. Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. The sports world saw him enter the league as a 17-year-old prodigy and exit the game in his late thirties, breaking and establishing many records along the way. In so doing, Bryant inspired numerous athletes as well as others in their chosen profession. Remarkably, Kobe’s life after retiring from the NBA was becoming as compelling as his NBA career, as people wondered, among other things, whether or not his daughter would follow in his remarkable footsteps. Bryant died tragically the morning of January 26, 2020, when the helicopter in which he and his daughter, Gianna Bryant, were passengers—along with Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, John Altobelli, Christina Mauser, and Ara Zobayan, the pilot—crashed into a hillside outside of Los Angeles, California. People the world over mourned this international icon along with the tragic news that he was not alone.

We invite submissions of original, previously unpublished manuscripts that are as ambitious and inspiring as Kobe’s approach to the game and life. Bryant was more than a basketball player. He was a husband, father, humanitarian, and mentor to numerous athletes as well as an Academy Award recipient. Sample topics include:

      • Kobe’s Final Dance: 60 Against the Jazz
      • Kobe at Rucker Park
      • Kobe Bryant as Girls’ Dad
      • When Kobe Scored 81
      • Kobe Bryant as Coach, Mentor and Teacher
      • 8 and 24: A Tale of Two Numbers
      • Kobe, the Multilingual Intellectual
      • Kobe and Phil Jackson
      • Kobe and Women’s Sports
      • The Birth of the Black Mamba
      • Kobe Bryant, the Business Man
      • Wait. Kobe Said, “She’s Got Next, Bro!”
      • Brothers in Tears: Why Kobe Meant So Much to So Many
      • Kobe and the Scandal in Colorado
      • Kobe Bryant, Bennie Adams and the Presence of Homophobia in Society
      • Straight Outta Lower Merion
      • Kobe Bryant’s Second Act
      • After the Game Is Over: Kobe Bryant and Practice
      • By Chasing and Emulating Michael Jordan, Kobe Becomes the Second Coming
      • The Mamba Academy
      • Kobe: More Influential than Michael Jordan?
      • Kobe: With and Post Shaquille O’Neal
      • Kobe and Olympic Gold
      • Murals as Tribute to Kobe and Gianna

Prospective contributors should send abstracts of no more than 250 words by Thursday, April 2, 2020 to both guest editors and expect notification of selection no later than Friday, April 24, 2020. All finished manuscripts are expected to conform to the standard JAAS guidelines published in each issue of the journal, and all submissions will be subjected to external peer review. Double-spaced papers are to be between 20 and 30 pages in length (excluding bibliography) and are due by Tuesday, December 8, 2020. Papers should be submitted through the journal’s online system. All questions and queries should be directed to Jerrell Beckham at

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