Kobe Bean Bryant (August 23, 1978 – January 26, 2020) was an American professional basketball player. He played his entire 20-year career in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Los Angeles Lakers.
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, 12-time member of the All-Defensive team and was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2008.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he led the NBA in scoring during two seasons, ranks fourth on the league’s all-time regular season scoring and fourth on the all-time postseason scoring list. Bryant is the first guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons.
At approximately 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on January 26, 2020, Bryant and four others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was on the helicopter with him, along with her teammate, her teammate’s parent, and the pilot. They were on their way to a travel basketball game.
Initial reports indicated that the Sikorsky S-76 crashed in the mountains above Calabasas in heavy fog. The incident is under investigation.
Kobe bryant was married to Vannesa Bryant with whom he gave birth to 4 daughters – Gianna, 13 [who died alongside his father in the crash], Natalia and Bianca and their newborn Capri.
Early life and education
Bryant was born in Philadelphia, the youngest of three children and only son of former NBA player Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant.
He was 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. After two years they moved first to Reggio Calabria and then to Pistoia and Reggio Emilia. Kobe became accustomed to his new lifestyle and learned to speak fluent Italian.
He was especially fond of Reggio Emilia, which he considers a loving place and where his best childhood memories were made. While there he seriously learned to play basketball. 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.
Career highlights and awards
- 5× 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)
- First-team Parade All-American (1996)