Kobe Bryant, who was regarded as one of the greatest, was an American basketball player. He spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a shooting guard.
He was nicknamed the ‘Black Mamba’ and is known for winning 5 NBA championships with the LA Lakers.
Altogether, Bryant won five NBA championships, was an 18-time All-Star, a 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, a 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team, the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), and a two-time NBA Finals MVP.
Born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a catholic family, Bryant started playing basketball when he was three.
He was the son of former NBA player Joe Bryant and maternal nephew of NBA player John “Chubby” Cox.
During his high-school days at Lower Merion, he was a standout basketball player and earned several awards, including the Naismith High School Player of the Year. His high school team won the state championship his senior year, and Bryant was recognized as the top American high-school basketball player.
He was the 13th overall pick for the 1996 NBA Draft and was then traded to the Lakers.
His records include:
- Kobe holds the record as the youngest player to start the NBA game.
- He also holds the record for second-most point scored (81) in a single NBA game.
- He is the youngest player to score 26,000 career points.
- Kobe won the NBA scoring titles in 2006 and 2007.
- He was selected to the All-NBA Team 15 times and the All-Defensive Team 12 times.
- He currently holds the fourth position on the all-time NBA scoring list.
In 2001, he was married to Vanessa Laine Bryant. Their first daughter was born in mid-January 2003. Bryant’s second daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore, was born in early May 2006.
In December 2016, Vanessa gave birth to their third daughter, Bianka Bella Bryant. And in June 2019, their fourth daughter Capri Kobe Bryant was born.
After a widely successful and tremendous 20-year NBA career, Kobe retired at the end of the 2016 NBA season.
He scored 60 points in his final game on April 30, 2016. During the 2016 NBA season, it was the most points scored by a player in a single game.
On January 26, 2020, Bryant was traveling with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and six family friends to Camarillo Airport in Ventura County for a basketball game at Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.
The helicopter departed from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, at 9:06 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. Due to light rain and fog that morning, the LA Police Department helicopters and most other air traffic were grounded. However, the flight tracker showed the helicopter hovering above the L.A. Zoo due to heavy aviation traffic in the area.
At 9:45 a.m, the helicopter crashed into a mountainside in Calabasas, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and began burning. Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the other seven occupants were killed.
On February 7, Bryant and his daughter were buried in a private funeral in Pacific View Memorial Park in the Corona del Mar neighborhood of Newport Beach, California.
A public memorial service was held on February 24 at Staples Center. Speakers at the service included Jordan, Vanessa, Diana Taurasi, Geno Auriemma, and O’Neal.