Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978 in Philadelphia PA. His father, Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant, was a former NBA player. In 1984, Jelly Bean moved the family to Italy so he could play professional basketball there. While there, Kobe’s love for basketball grew. When they returned to the US in 1991, Kobe joined his school's basketball team at the Lower Merion High School.
While in high school, Kobe led his team to the state championship all four years. He also started working out with the Philadelphia 76ers; a professional basketball team in the NBA. On top of being a successful and committed basketball player, Kobe also maintained high grades and earned a high SAT score.
Kobe joined the NBA straight out of high school. He was the 13th round pick chosen by the Charlotte Hornets. Shortly after the draft, he was traded to the L.A. Lakers. During his second season, at the age of 19, Kobe was chosen to be a starter at the 1998 NBA all star game. He was the youngest player to be chosen.
Up until 2004, Kobe Bryant played alongside Shaquille O’Neal. They developed a lifelong friendship and won 3 consecutive championships while playing for the L.A. Lakers. After O’Neal’s departure from the NBA, Kobe continued to dominate on the court. In January 2006, he scored 81 points in a game against the Toronto Raptors. This was the first of many records Kobe would go on set. His 81 points scored during that game is the second highest single game mark in NBA history.
Kobe continued to dominate the scoreboard and was voted MVP in 2008 after leading his team to the NBA finals. That same year, he won his first gold medal by playing on the U.S. Olympics team. The following year, the L.A. Lakers returned to the finals and won the championship against the Orlando Magic.
In 2012, Kobe earned his second Olympic gold medal by playing on the U.S. basketball team.
Kobe continued to work hard and dominated the scoring board. In 2014, he surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time NBA scoring leaders while overcoming three major injuries. He currently resides in fourth place.
During the 2015-2016 season, Kobe announced that he will retire from basketball after that season. On April 13th, 2016 during Kobe’s last game, he scored 60 points to beat the Utah Jazz. After leaving the NBA Kobe, won an Academy Award for his film ‘Dear Basketball’.
Kobe Bryant tragically passed away January 26, 2020 alongside his beautiful daughter Gigi and 7 others. The news shocked the world and continues to leave a dark cloud over the hearts of many. He left behind his loving high school sweetheart and wife Vanessa Bryant and three daughters.
His legacy will live on forever and will forever be honored by those closest to him and by his fans.