Once a vibrant force in the game of basketball, a man who thrilled NBA fans with his various antics in the courts for over 20 years, even after retirement was still a prominent figure in the NBA, Kobe Bryant’s relevance continues to survive the Oblivion of retirement. Among the various players in the 21st century who helped redefine the game of basketball and propelled it to greater heights, Kobe Bryant stands confidently tall. We review the rise of Kobe to basketball stardom and noteworthy moments in his 20 years career in this Kobe Bryant biography facts, childhood, career, personal life and death.
Table of Contents
Kobe Bryant Biography Facts, Age, Nickname, Family, Wife
- Full Name: Kobe Bean Bryant
- Nickname: Employee #8, Kob-me, The Dagger, Izzo, Mr. 81, Black Mamba, KB8, Three rings, KB-24
- Born: August 23, 1978
- Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Died: January 26, 2020 (at age 41)
- Nationality: American
- Height: 6 feet 5 inches
- Shoe Size: 14
- Weight: 210 lb (96 kg)
- Education: Lower Merion High School
- Parents: Joe Bryant (father), Pam Bryant (mother)
- Spouse: Vanessa Laine Bryant
- Siblings: Shaya Bryant (sister), Sharia Bryant (sister)
- Children: Capri Kobe Bryant, Bianka Bella Bryant, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, Natalia Diamante Bryant
- Net worth: $500 million
- Occupation: Ex-Basketball Player
- Retired Team: Los Angeles Lakers
- Jersey Number: #24
- Playing Career: 1996–2016
Kobe Bryant Childhood Story & Early Life
Born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Bryant is the youngest amongst the three children born to his father, Joe Bryant and mother, Pamela Cox Bryant. Bryant was named after a Japanese beef, Kobe, while his middle name Bean originates from his father’s nickname ‘jellybean’. When Bryant was at the age of six, his father retired from active play in the NBA and relocated to Italy where Bryant learnt Italian. During summer, Bryant returned to the USA to play basketball. His love for basketball may have been passed down from his father when he began playing at the young age of three.
Bryant became known nationally after an incredible high school performance at Lower Merion High School, he went on to play for Lower Merion Varsity team and became the first freshman to start for the Lower Merion Varsity team. Bryant earned Pennsylvania Player of the Year honour in his junior year, which brought him offers from various college recruiters. He also participated in the Adidas ABCD Camp where he received a senior MVP award in 1995. Bryant led the Lakers after a 53-years drought, to their first state championship while in the senior year.
He concluded his high school career on a remarkable note as Southeastern Pennsylvania’s all-time highest scorer with 2,883 points. He won several awards which include Men’s National Basketball Player of the Year, Naismith High School Player of the Year, and a McDonald’s All-American. Despite scoring 1080 in his SAT, Bryant decided to go pro after high school.
Kobe Bryant NBA Career, Achievements & Honours
Los Angeles Lakers (1996–2016)
Following the Hornets agreement to trade their number #13 draft in the 1996 NBA draft to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Hornets we’re told to pick Bryant as it’s #13 pick minutes before the draft. The trade seemed not likely to go through when Divac threatened that he will rather retire than be traded. He retracted on his words and the trade went as planned. Bryant signed a three-year contract with the Lakers worth $3.5 million.
Bryant debuted for the Lakers in the Summer Pro League with an amazing performance. He went on to become the youngest NBA starter, playing limited minutes which increased as the season went on. He participated in the Rookie Challenge during the All-Star weekend where he won the Slam dunk contest. After an amazing rookie season, Bryant was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
In his second season at Lakers, Bryant earned more playing time and became the youngest NBA All-Star starter in the history of the NBA. He emerged runner-up in the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award. In the 1998–99 season he became established as the number one guard in the NBA. He also signed a 7-year deal worth $60 million with the Lakers.
The next season saw Bryant rise to become the no #1 shooter in the NBA, earning All-NBA, All-Star and All-Defensive honours. The Lakers won three consecutive NBA championship (2000, 2001, 2003) which made Bryant the youngest player to achieve the feat at 23 years. After setting an NBA record for three-pointers in a game, Bryant received honours while ranking third in the league MVP voting.
The following season, Bryant was arrested for sexual assault and thus missed several games as a result of a court appearance. He, however, led his side to the NBA final where they lost to the Detroit Pistons. Bryant went on to sign that another seven-year deal with the Lakers. The 2004/05 season was a hard one for Bryant as he was criticized majorly by ex Lakers coach Jackson who referred to him as ‘uncoachable’, Bryant had feuds with teammates Karl Malone and Ray Allen. He was also demoted to the All-NBA Third Team.
Bryant changed his jersey number from 8 to 24 in the 2006–07 NBA season. In December 2007, Bryant became the youngest player to score 20,000 points at the age of 29. He went on to win the MVP and was unanimously selected to the All-NBA team. The next season Bryant received All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team honours. In the 2008/09 season, Bryant won his fourth NBA title and his first NBA Finals MVP. In April 2010, Bryant signed a three-year deal worth $87 million with the Lakers. Bryant went on to win the NBA championship for the fifth time and the NBA Finals MVP.
In the 2010/11 season, Bryant became the youngest player to score 27,000 points and earn the All-Star MVP. The following season Bryant became the youngest player to score 30,000 points.
In November 2013, Bryant signed a two-year contract extension worth $48.5 million. His season was hampered by a knee injury. In November 2015, Bryant announced that he will retire at the end of the season. He was voted to the 2016 All-Star game with 1.9 million votes and became the oldest player to score 60 points or more in an NBA game.
Kobe Bryant National Team Career
After missing several National team championships contests, Bryant debuted for the USA Basketball National side in 2007, at the FIBA Americas Championship Team where they won gold. He played in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, where he won gold on both occasions but later retired.
Kobe Bryant Net Worth, Endorsements & Sponsorship
Kobe Bryant’s net worth as at December 2019 was estimated at $500. He has had endorsement deals with Turkish Airlines, Nike, Addidas, Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Ferrero SpA to mention a few, who cancelled their deals with him, following the rape allegation against him.
Kobe Bryant Personal Life & Trivia
Bryant met his then wife-to-be Vanessa Lainein in November 1999 and they got married in April 2001, despite opposition fro Bryant’s parents who didn’t attend the wedding. His first daughter born in 2003, ended his quarrels with his parents over his marriage. His wife suffered a miscarriage in 2005 but gave birth to their second child in 2006. His third child was born in 2016, and in 2019 they announced a fourth child was on its way.
Bryant’s reputation suffered significantly after he was charged with sexual assault in 2003, but the charges were dropped in September 2004 when the accuser refused to testify.
Bryant was an ambassador for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Bryant released his first single titled K.O.B.E in 2000.
Kobe Bryant China Fund founded by Bryant and backed by the Chinese government promotes education and health programs in China.
Kobe Bryant Death
Kobe Bryant, alongside eight others, died in a helicopter crash on 26 January 2020, in Calabasas California, according to TMZ Sports. It was also reported that his daughter, Gianna Maria Onore, was also on board and died in the helicopter crash. Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa and their three daughters – Natalia, Bianca and Capri, their newborn.
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