Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 23, 1978, Kobe Bean Bryant is an American professional basketball player. Bryant carries the name of the city he was named after in Japan. His father was former NBA player Joe Bryant, known as “Jellybean.”
Early Life of Kobe Bryant
The NBA’s Kobe Bryant spent his early years in Italy before joining the league after high school. Bryant was a dominant player for the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships and the 2008 MVP Award. Despite injuries later, he passed Michael Jordan to become the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer in December 2014 and retired in 2016 after scoring 60 points in his final game. Dear Basketball earned Bryant an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2018. As a result of a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gigi, and seven others were killed.
A year after he ended his NBA career, the elder Bryant took his family to Italy, playing in the Italian League. A basketball and soccer enthusiast growing up in Italy with two older sisters, Shaya and Sharia, Bryant played both sports avidly. The Bryant family returned to Philadelphia in 1991, where Bryant led the Lower Merion High School basketball team to four consecutive state championships. He also began working out with the 76ers while keeping an eye on the NBA.
Despite having a good grade point average and high SAT scores, Bryant went straight from high school to the NBA. In the 1996 NBA draft, he was selected by the Hornets with the 13th overall pick. Following his selection, he was traded to the Lakers.
In April 2001, Bryant married Vanessa Laine, who was 19 years old. In addition to Natalia Diamante (born 2003), Gianna Maria-Onore (born 2006; deceased 2020), Bianka (born 2016), and Capri (born 2019), the couple gave birth to four daughters.
NBA Career and Statistics
In 1998, Bryant became the youngest All-Star in NBA history when he was selected as a starter for the All-Star Game, making him the youngest starter in competition history. In 2002-2004, the shooting guard teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal to win three consecutive NBA championships, and he was named first-team all-NBA once again. Adidas, Sprite, and other top sponsors also signed multi-year endorsement contracts with him.
Despite the Lakers’ struggles after O’Neal left in 2004, Bryant turned in a spectacular performance. In January 2006, he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, which was the second-highest point total in NBA history, and led the league in scoring the next year as well.
Bryant was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008, and his team made it to the NBA Finals before losing to the Boston Celtics. The Los Angeles Lakers won the championship by beating the Orlando Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals. The following day, Bryant participated in the memorial service for music superstar and friend Michael Jackson. In the next season, the Lakers defeated the Celtics to win their second straight title.
In 2008 and 2012, Bryant was a member of the U.S. gold-medal-winning Olympic teams, including Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony. In April 2013, Bryant tore his Achilles tendon and went through a long rehab process before breaking his knee just six games into the 2013-2014 season. Michael Jordan passed him to become the third-highest NBA scorer of all time in December 2014, but he suffered a torn rotator cuff in January 2015, ending his season for the third time in four years.
The Staples Center in Los Angeles hosted Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game on April 13, 2016. Bryant scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz.
Retirement of Kobe Bryant
The NBA season began in 2015-2016 with Bryant returning to the team, but he struggled with the young Lakers. Earlier this year, he announced his retirement at the end of the 2015-16 season. The Players’ Tribune website quotes him as saying, “This season is all I have left.”. His body knows it’s time to say goodbye despite his heart taking a beating, his mind handling the grind.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, in particular, reacted strongly to the announcement. A 17-time NBA All-Star, NBA MVP, five-time NBA champion with the Lakers, two-time Olympic gold medal winner, Kobe Bryant is undoubtedly one of the best players in the history of our game, Silver said in a statement. Whether playing in the finals or shooting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe loves Basketball unconditionally.”
In the final game of his career, Bryant scored 60 points and led the Lakers to a victory against the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center on April 13, 2016. It was Bryant’s sixth game with 60 points.
Bryant addressed the crowd after the game: “I can’t believe how fast time has passed,” he said. “It’s just crazy to think how fast it has gone and to be standing at center court with you guys, my teammates behind me, experiencing our journey together, we’ve experienced good times and hard times. One of the most important things was that we remained together throughout.”
“We are here to celebrate 20 years of excellence,” Magic Johnson said. “Greatness for 20 years.” Lamar Odom, Phil Jackson, and Pau Gasol were also present to honor Bryant. Throughout his career, Kobe Bryant has never cheated the game, never cheated us as fans. Kobe has been injured on more than one occasion. Five championships have been won despite his injuries.”
How much is Kobe Bryant’s worth?
In addition to being an American professional basketball player, Kobe Bryant was also a producer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. Approximately $600 million was Kobe Bryan’s net worth at the time of his death. The helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020, was tragic. In addition to being an 18-time NBA All-Star, Kobe Bryant won five NBA titles and was two-time NBA Finals MVP.
Death of Kobe Bryant
Bryant was aboard in a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter when it crashed in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas on January 26, 2020. There were nine deaths, including Bryant’s daughter Gianna “Gigi.” Bryant’s daughter was 13 years old. From Orange County, Bryant was going to Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, where he would coach a tournament game.
Vanessa Bryant wrote on Instagram that she was devastated by the loss of her husband, Kobe, the best father to her children, and my sweet, beautiful daughter Gianna, a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. I wish Kobe and Gigi were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I take comfort from knowing that they know how deeply loved they were. Kobe and Gigi knew how deeply loved they were.
The funeral for Bryant and his daughter was held on February 7, 2020. Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, and Jordan, Shaq, and Vanessa are among those sharing memories of the Basketball great and family man during a memorial service at the Staples Center on February 24.