Last updated on January 6th, 2021
Kobe Bryant, America’s professional basketball player, spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA. Here discover many interesting facts about Kobe Bryant that cover his childhood, early life, basketball career, personal life, entrepreneurial potential and tragic death.
1. On August 23, 1978, Kobe Bean Bryant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to parents Pamela and Joe Bryant. He was the youngest of the siblings in his family with Sharia and Shaya being his two older sisters. His dad was a professional basketball player with the Philadelphia 76ers. At the age of 3, Kobe started playing basketball and when he was growing up, his favorite team was the Lakers.
2. His father spent eight seasons playing in the NBA and an additional eight years playing professional basketball in Italy, where Kobe was educated from the age of six. When the family returned to the United States, Bryant was enrolled in high school.
3. Pamela, Kobe’s mother, had NBA in her bloodline as well. Chubby Cox is her brother and in the 1980s, he played on the Washington Bullets then, which is now the Wizards.
High School and College
4. Kobe was a student at Lower Merion High School which is located in a suburb of Philadelphia. As an outstanding basketball player, he earned a number of awards and among them was the National High School Player of the Year and recognition from Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
5. He averaged 31.1 points during his junior year, along with 5.2 assists and 10.4 rebounds. He was also named Pennsylvania Player of the Year and during the process, he got great interest from college recruiters. These institutions include Michigan, Duke, Villanova and North Carolina.
6. In his senior year, his high school team was the winners of the state championship.
7. In 1995, Kevin Garnett went in the first round of the NBA draft and Kobe started to consider moving directly to the pros. He ultimately made the decision not to attend college and instead he chose a path that led him directly into professional basketball.
8. He has stated that had he opted to go to college, Duke University would have been his choice. In 1996, he was the 13th player drafted into the league and the Charlotte Hornets was the team that selected him. However, he was shortly traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac who played center at the time.
His Basketball Career
9. When Kobe was drafted, he was just 17 years old; however, by the time he played his first NBA game, he had turned 18 years old.
10. As a shooting guard, his impressive basketball skills helped the Los Angeles Lakers to win 5 NBA championships. It was early in his career, from 2000 to 2002, that he won the first 3 championships. Shaquille O’Neal, the all-star center at the time, was his teammate. After O’Neal was traded, the rebuilding process of the Los Angeles Lakers took some time. However, in 2009 and 2010, they won two additional championships with Kobe at the helm, playing an integral role in those results.
11. Kobe has the record for the most points ever scored throughout the career of a Los Angeles Laker.
NBA History – Points Leaders
12. He amassed 81 points in an NBA game; this is the second highest points scored in a just one game. This was topped by only Wilt Chamberlain in 1962 when he scored 100 points in a game.
13. The Lakers lost the NBA Finals in 2004 and following that, Shaquille O’neal was traded. This paved the way for Kobe to become the cornerstone of the team.
14. Kobe led the NBA in scoring throughout the following two seasons 2005 to 2006 and 2006 to 2007.
15. In the years 2006 and 2007, Kobe was named the NBA scoring champion.
16. He was named MVP of the league in 2008.
17. In the years 2009 and 2010 the team was led by Kobe into two consecutive championships. On both occasions, he was named MVP of the NBA Finals.
18. He remained among the top players in the NBA league up until 2013, when at age 34 he was afflicted with a torn Achilles tendon. Subsequently, he suffered injuries to his shoulder and knee in the following two seasons and he was forced to end the seasons prematurely.
19. In the history of the Lakers franchise, Kobe is the leading scorer of all times. In addition, he was the first shooting guard in the history of the NBA to play a minimum of 20 seasons.
20. He was designated All-Star on 18 different occasions, which is actually the second highest of all time; however, he holds the record for having the most successive appearances as a starter.
21. Kobe has been awarded 4 All-Star Game MVP Honors, which is the most in the history of the NBA. This a distinction he shares with Bob Pettit.
22. He is the youngest basketballer to score 26,000 points during his career. In the NBA, he was actually the holder of a number of “youngest” records.
23. Kobe was a fifteen-time member of the All-NBA Team and a twelve-time member of the All-Defensive Team.
24. He was a Los Angeles Laker for the entirety of his professional career.
25. As a result of his injuries and overall physical decline, Kobe retired after the final regular-season game of the 2015-2016 basketball season.
Business and Marketing Career
26. He expanded his career by breaking into the world of investing even prior to leaving the NBA. In 2013, Kobe and Web.com founder Jeff Stibel became a co-founder of Bryant Stibel, a venture capital firm. Bryant Stibel has invested in companies like Fortnite-maker Epic Games. It has been said that Kobe was a creative visionary and more than just a founding partner. He quickly became an adept investor and entrepreneur.
27. In March of 2014, Kobe Inc. was launched. Additionally, Kobe announced that the first investment of the company is a 10 percent interest in BodyArmor, a sports drink. The valuation of the company was boosted in 2018 when its stake was sold to Coca Cola.
28. In February of 2016, Kobe announced the launch of Granity Studios, which was previously referred to as Kobe Studios. It is essentially a multimedia original content company which concentrates on creative storytelling surrounding sports. Granity Studios was responsible for the publishing of his “Dear Basketball” poem and the Academy award-winning short film adaptation that followed. Among other projects they also created the program “Detail” for ESPN+, which is quite popular as well as many podcasts.
29. Kobe also created the Mamba Sports Academy for the purpose of providing broader lifestyle and athletic training to competitors in a variety of sports and at all levels.
30. Kobe’s business acumen can be largely attributed to his exposure to the marketing world early in his career. In 2013, in an interview with Bloomberg Television, Kobe stated that he has learned a lot from Nike. Throughout his career, Kobe was involved in endorsement deals with quite a number of brands. They included Nike, Turkish Airlines, Sprite, McDonald’s, Mercedes Benz, Coca-Cola, Nintendo and Hublot.
His Personal Life, Friends, Wife, Family
Wife and Family
31. Kobe met, fell in love with and married Vanessa Laine on April 18, 2001. They met when Vanessa was a high school senior and she was meeting up with a musician for a potential second appearance in a music video.
32. The couple went on to have four children, all girls. Natalia, their eldest, was born in January of 2003. Gianna, who shared a passion for basketball with her dad and was a great player, was born in May of 2006, she was followed by Bianka in December of 2016 and Capri, who was born in June of 2019, was just 7 months old at the time of the passing of her dad and sister.
33. The couple survived infidelity and even bounced back after Vanessa filed for divorce in December of 2011. They ultimately made the decision to stay together and remained a married couple up until Kobe’s passing. Kobe and Vanessa Bryant were married for 19 years, spanning from April 18, 2001 to January 26, 2020.
34. Kobe and his parents, Joe and Pamela Bryant had a complicated relationship. When Kobe was 21, he and Vanessa got engaged when she was only 17 years old. It has been widely banded about that the disconnect with his parents was largely because he decided to marry a woman of Hispanic heritage and the fact that he wanted to get married so early in life. When they got married, Kobe’s parents did not attend, which caused an even further divide between him and his parents.
35. There was also the situation in 2013 when Kobe filed a lawsuit against his mother in an attempt to prevent her from auctioning off some of his memorabilia from early in his career. This was said to include high school uniforms and Lakers championship rings. The lawsuit effectively blocked the sale; however, they ended up settling out of court.
36. In 2016, his jersey numbers were retired by the Lakers and neither of his parents attended and during his speech, Kobe did not mention them among the people he thanked. Sometime after that ceremony, he gave a statement on ESPN essentially stating that the relationship with his parents is contentious. He stated that he had suffered a lot of heartache and tears and that in some ways he was still suffering.
37. There was no public acknowledgement on a reconciliation between him and his parents before his death.
38. Rob Pelinka was Kobe’s best friend. He served in the role of Kobe’s longtime agent prior to becoming the general manager of the LA Lakers. For over 20 years, he talked with and texted Kobe on a daily basis. In fact, they were texting back and forth right before the helicopter crashed. He was also the Godfather to Kobe’s daughter who perished with him.
39. Shaquille O’neal and Kobe are known to have feuded in the past and it is also well known that they managed to forge a close friendship. In years after they played together, the two developed a deep connection and the families became incredibly close as well. After the tragedy, Shaq has shared that he and his family are mourning alongside Kobe’s family.
40. In his tribute at the memorial service, Michael Jordan referred to Kobe as his very close friend and little brother even though he jokingly said he found Kobe annoying at first.
41. On January 26, 2020, Kobe and Gianna, his 13-year-old daughter, were traveling in a helicopter with a group to a girls’ basketball game when it crashed and killed all nine individuals on board.
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