Kobe Bryant facts for kids

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Kobe Bryant
Bryant with the Lakers in 2015
Personal information
Born August 23, 1978 (1978-08-23) (age 41)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
High school Lower Merion
(Ardmore, Pennsylvania)
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 212 lb (96 kg)
Career information
NBA Draft 1996 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13th overall
Selected by the Charlotte Hornets
Pro career 1996–2016
Career history
1996–2016 Los Angeles Lakers
Career highlights and awards
  • NBA champion (2000–2002, 2009, 2010)
  • 2× NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010)
  • NBA Most Valuable Player (2008)
  • 18× NBA All-Star (1998, 2000–2016)
  • 4× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011)
  • 11× All-NBA First Team (2002–2004, 2006–2013)
  • 2× All-NBA Second Team (2000, 2001)
  • 2× All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2005)
  • 9× NBA All-Defensive First Team (2000, 2003, 2004, 2006–2011)
  • 3× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2001, 2002, 2012)
  • 2× NBA scoring champion (2006, 2007)
  • NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion (1997)
  • NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1997)
  • Nos. 8 & 24 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
  • Naismith Prep Player of the Year (1996)
Career statistics
Points 33,643 (25.0 ppg)
Rebounds 7,047 (5.2 rpg)
Assists 6,306 (4.7 apg)
Stats at NBA.com

Kobe Bean Bryant (born August 23, 1978), often known as Kobe, is an American former professional basketball player. He played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He entered the NBA directly from high school and won five NBA championships. Bryant is an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team.

He led the NBA in scoring during two seasons and ranks third on the league's all-time regular season scoring and fourth on the all-time postseason scoring list. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Bryant is the first guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons.

Kobe Bryant retired HS2
Bryant's retired No.33 jersey and banner

Bryant is the son of former NBA player Joe Bryant. He enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, where he was recognized as the top high school basketball player in the country. Upon graduation, he declared for the 1996 NBA draft and was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th overall pick; the Hornets then traded him to the Lakers.

As a rookie, Bryant earned himself a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan favorite by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest, and he was named an All-Star by his second season. Despite a feud between the two players, Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002.

After the Lakers lost the 2004 NBA Finals, O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat and Bryant became the cornerstone of the Lakers. He led the NBA in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons. In 2006, he scored a career-high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second most points scored in a single game in league history behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962.

Kobe Bryant 8
Bryant prepares to shoot a free throw in 2005

Bryant was awarded the regular season's Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in 2008. After the Lakers lost in the 2008 NBA Finals, Bryant led the team to two consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, earning the Finals MVP Award on both occasions.

He continued to be among the top players in the league through 2013, when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon at age 34. Although he recovered from that injury, he suffered season-ending injuries to his knee and shoulder, respectively, in the following two seasons. Citing his physical decline, Bryant retired after the 2015–16 season.

At 34 years and 104 days of age, Bryant became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points. He became the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history on February 1, 2010, when he surpassed Jerry West.

During his third year in the league, Bryant was chosen to start the All-Star Game, and he would continue to be selected to start that game for a record 18 consecutive appearances until his retirement. His four All-Star MVP Awards are tied for the most in NBA history.

At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won gold medals as a member of the U.S. national team. In 2018, Bryant won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his film Dear Basketball.

Early life and education

Kobe Bryant Drives2
Kobe Bryant drives to the basket

Bryant was born in Philadelphia, the youngest of three children and only son of former NBA player Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant. He is also the maternal nephew of basketball player John "Chubby" Cox. His parents named him after the famous beef of Kobe, Japan, which they saw on a restaurant menu. His middle name, Bean, is derived from his father's nickname "Jellybean".

Bryant was raised Roman Catholic. When Bryant was six, his father retired from the NBA and moved his family to Rieti in Italy to continue playing professional basketball at a lower level. Kobe became accustomed to his new lifestyle and learned to speak fluent Italian. During summers, he would come back to the United States to play in a basketball summer league.

Bryant started playing basketball when he was 3 years old, and the Lakers were his favorite team when he was growing up. Bryant's grandfather would mail him videos of NBA games, which Bryant would study. At an early age, he also learned to play soccer and his favorite team was A.C. Milan. When Kobe's father Joe retired as a player in 1991, the family moved back to the United States.

Personal life

Kobe Bryant Disney Parade
MVP Kobe Bryant represented the Los Angeles Lakers in a Victory Parade down Main Street U.S.A. at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA

In November 1999, 21-year-old Bryant met 17-year-old Vanessa Laine. The two began dating and became engaged just six months later in May 2000. They married on April 18, 2001 in Dana Point, California. The Bryants' first child, a daughter, was born in 2003, their second daughter was born in 2006.

In an early 2007 interview, it was revealed that Bryant still speaks Italian fluently. He has also conducted press interviews in Spanish. Bryant assigned himself the nickname of "Black Mamba", citing a desire for his basketball skills to mimic the eponymous snake's ability to "strike with 99% accuracy at maximum speed, in rapid succession." During the 2012–13 season, he began referring to himself as "vino" to describe how his play had been aging like a fine wine.

In 2016, Vanessa gave birth to their third daughter, and in January 2019 the Bryants announced they were expecting a fourth daughter who was born in June 2019.

Bryant is a lifelong fan of his hometown NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Legacy

Kobe Bryant Beijing Olympics 1
Kobe Bryant Beijing Olympics

Bryant was called "one of the greatest players in the history of our game" by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and The New York Times wrote that he has had "one of the most decorated careers in the history of the sport." Reuters called him "arguably the best player of his generation", while both Sporting News and TNT named him their NBA player of the decade for the 2000s.

In 2008 and again in 2016, ESPN ranked him the second greatest shooting guard of all-time after Jordan. Players including Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose have called Bryant their generation's version of Jordan. The Press-Enterprise described Bryant as "maybe the greatest Laker in the organization's history". He is the Lakers' all-time leading scorer, and his five titles are tied for the most in franchise history. Both numbers he wore during his career, 8 and 24, were retired by the Lakers on December 18, 2017.

Bryant is the official ambassador for After-School All-Stars (ASAS), an American non-profit organization that provides comprehensive after-school programs to children in thirteen US cities. Bryant also started the Kobe Bryant China Fund which partnered with the Soong Ching Ling Foundation, a charity backed by the Chinese government. The Kobe Bryant China Fund raises money within China earmarked for education and health programs.

On November 4, 2010, Bryant appeared alongside Zach Braff at the Call of Duty: Black Ops launch event at the Santa Monica Airport, where they presented a $1 million check to the Call of Duty Endowment, an Activision-founded nonprofit organization that helps veterans transition to civilian careers after their military service has ended.

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