Kobe Bean Bryant was an American professional basketball player, who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) to five championships (2000-02 and 2009-10). He is considered a legend on and off the court.
Kobe Bryant was born August 23, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and died January 26, 2020, in Calabasas California. Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan were traveling to a girls basketball pratice in Bryant’s private helicopter when it crashed, killing all nine passengers aboard.
Bryant attended Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, where he received several “National Player of The Year Awards”. Out of high school, the Charlotte Hornets chose Bryant as the 13th pick of the 1996 draft. He was then traded to the Lakers shortly thereafter and became the second youngest NBA player in history when the 1996 season opened. He then became the youngest All-Star player. Soon after bumping heads with his most popular and talented teammate Shaquille O’ Neal, the Lakers won three consecutive NBA championships under the leadership of Phil Jackson in 1999.
In April of 2001, Kobe married his love Vanessa. Vanessa was only 18 at the time and Kobe was 22. She has four children with him. Natalia, the oldest (who turned 17 a week before her father’s death), Gianna (13), Bianka (3), and baby Capri (7 months) . In 2003, Bryant was accused of raping a young woman in Colorado. Despite the accusations, Vanessa stood by his side as he maintained his innocence. All charges were eventually dropped as the woman refused to testify after many of Bryant’s fans harassed her. “Soon after the accuser did not believe their sexual encounter was consensual, following a civil suit was settled in 2005,” Britannica.
In 2006, Bryant locked in the most memorable score of his lifetime which was 81 points against the Toronto Raptors on January 22. He hit 28 of 46 field goals, including 7 of 13 threes, 18 of 20 free throws, six rebounds, and even two assists. In 2008, Kobe garnered the Leagues’ Most Valuable Player Award.
In 2009, he won his fourth title and was named the finals MVP after averaging a stellar 32.4 points per game in the series. According to Britannica, “He lead the Lakers to their third straight Western Conference championship in 2009-10, and he was once more named NBA Finals MVP after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in a seven-game series.”
In April 2013, Bryant ruptured his Achilles tendon causing him to miss the rest of the season. He returned in December 2013 just to fracture his kneecap, missing the remainder of that season as well. While struggling his following seasons with a low shooting percentile at .358 while averaging 17.6 points per game, Bryant retired following his 2015-16 season. In addition to his NBA wins, Bryant also won two Olympic Gold medals in 2008 and 2012 for basketball. The Lakers later retired both of his jerseys, * and 24, on December 18, 2017.
Outside of shooting hoops, in 2015, Bryant won an Academy Award for best animated short film called Dear Basketball, which he also narrated. In 2018, Bryant published the book The Mamba Mentality: How I Play. The book goes into graphic details on his many different approaches towards basketball.
Kobe Bean Bryant has not only impacted his fans but the world as well. He has inspired so many people and left his mark on this earth. His legacy will live on forever.