Facts about Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant Biography
Kobe Bryant won five NBA championships in a 20-year career as the star shooting guard of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kobe Bryant joined the Lakers in 1996 and became part of a celebrated one-two punch with center Shaquille O’Neal. The pair led the Lakers to NBA championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002; and after O’Neal moved on to Miami, Bryant led LA to two more NBA championships in 2009 and 2010. Kobe Bryant was an NBA prodigy, jumping straight from high school to the pros. (He was drafted in 1996 by the Charlotte Hornets, then traded to the Lakers for center Vlade Divac.) Bryant’s charisma and flashy talent led some to compare him with former NBA superstar Michael Jordan.
In July 2003 Bryant was charged with sexual assault after an encounter with a 19-year-old resort employee in Colorado; Bryant insisted that his relationship with the woman was consensual. The case was eventually dismissed and Bryant settled a civil suit with the woman out of court. Bryant continued to play with the Lakers, and on January 22, 2006 scored 81 points in a game against the Toronto Raptors. It was the second highest-scoring individual performance in NBA history, trailing only the 100 points scored by Wilt Chamberlain on March 2, 1962. In 2010 Kobe Bryant scored his 25,193th point, passing Jerry West to become the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer. He was also named the NBA’s most valuable player for the 2007-08 season.
Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract before the 2014-15 season, and announced in November of 2015 that he would retire at the end of that 2015-16 season. He scored 60 points on 50 shots in his last game on April 13, 2016, a win over the Utah Jazz, ending his career with 33,643 career regular-season points (and an additional 5,640 in playoff games).
Kobe Bryant won an Academy Award in 2018 for his 2017 short animated film Dear Basketball. The film, based on an article Bryant wrote upon his retirement from the NBA, was animated by Glen Keane and won the Academy Award for best animated short feature.
Kobe Bryant was killed along with four other people in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, in the hills of Calabasas, just northwest of Los Angeles. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna (known as Gigi), was also killed in the crash. Their deaths came the morning after LeBron James surpassed Kobe Bryant’s regular-season career total of 33,643 points.
Kobe Bryant was 6’7″ tall and played guard… He wore the jersey number 8 for years, but switched to 24 at the start of the 2006 NBA season. The Los Angeles Lakers retired both of his numbers… According to Kobe Bryant’s NBA bio, his parents “named him after a kind of steak (kobe) seen on a restaurant menu prior to his birth”… Kobe Bryant’s father Joe Bryant played eight seasons in the NBA and also played pro ball in Italy, where Kobe spent part of his childhood… Kobe Bryant married the former Vanessa Laine in April 2001. They had four two daughters, Natalia (born in 2003), Gianna (b. 2006), Bianca (b. 2016) and Capri (b. 2019). Kobe Bryant gave himself the nickname of “Black Mamba,” likening his basketball skills to that of the quick-striking snake. He has used the name in other areas, such as his Black Mamba line of luxury watches.