Kobe Bryant
Professional basketball player
Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bean Bryant is an American professional basketball player who plays shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Bryant enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School, where he was recognized as the top high school basketball player in the country.
Biography
Kobe Bryant's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Kobe Bryant from around the web
LA Lakers Purge Front Office As The Magic Johnson Era Commences
Huffington Post - 3 days
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); The Los Angeles Lakers announced Tuesday that they have purged their front office in a shake-up that will leave former Laker great Earvin “Magic” Johnson in charge of turning the once-great franchise around following the worst half-decade of basketball in its lauded history.  In a release, the team said it has put Johnson “in charge of all basketball operations” and fired general manager Mitch Kupchak, who had overseen the team’s day-to-day basketball deci ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Johnson wants Bryant to help rebuild Lakers
Yahoo News - 10 days
Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson on Tuesday said he is keen to find a role for Kobe Bryant as he attempts to help revive the flagging NBA franchise's fortunes. The Lakers confirmed earlier this month that Johnson had been hired as an adviser to co-owner and president Jeanie Buss with a wide-ranging brief touching on "all business and basketball matters". Johnson, 57, said that his first move -- if he was given power to do so -- would be to try and recruit the recently retired Bryant into the set-up.
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Yahoo News article
Kobe Bryant memorabilia stolen from the Lakers legend's alma mater
LATimes - 18 days
Authorities say memorabilia from Kobe Bryant's high school career have been stolen from a display case at the Lakers legend’s school near Philadelphia. Philly.com reports the theft from “Kobe's Shrine” outside the Bryant Gymnasium at Lower Merion High School was discovered by school officials on...
Article Link:
LATimes article
My president was a hooper
Yahoo News - about 1 month
When Barack Obama moved into the White House in 2009, he had the tennis court at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. converted into a basketball court.  In this bit of home improvement was as much symbolism as you wanted to see. A space that formerly hosted a sport of the ruling class was now also dedicated to one played across lines of race and income. SEE ALSO: My high school teammate, Kobe Bryant Basketball was many things for President Obama. It was an escape, a lifelong pastime and a key element to the narrative that propelled his meteoric rise. His funky lefty jumpshot and his steadfast dedication to hooping in sweatpants even became pillars of the mystique surrounding The Cool POTUS.  GQ on Thursday published an exhaustive oral history of Obama's basketball jones, featuring quotes from those who played pickup with him over the past several years. It's a delightful, fascinating read. One of many great anecdotes in the piece comes from University of North Carolina coach Roy Williams, whose tea ...
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Yahoo News article
How Mexico's Horacio Llamas made history during eventful NBA career
ABC News - about 2 months
His NBA "career" consisted of 28 regular-season games. He played a grand total of 143 minutes. But? Horacio Llamas,?the first Mexican-born player to appear in an NBA game, did more than just become the answer to an obscure trivia question. The 6-foot-11 center experienced moments and gained memories that most basketball players could only dream about. Llamas ran the floor with a teenage Kobe Bryant, made his first start against his idol, Hakeem Olajuwon, felt the strength and scowl of Charles Barkley, bodied up on a 25-year-old Shaquille O'Neal and sank a game-winning basket off a bullet pass from Michael Jordan. Sure, it was more gig than occupation, but Llamas made the most of his cup of coffee with the NBA. Nearly 20 years after making history by stepping on the floor as a member of the Phoenix Suns, the 43-year-old from El Rosario, Sinaloa, is excited that the NBA is returning to his home country this... ...
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ABC News article
Ravens receiver Smith calls it quits after 16-year career
Yahoo News - about 2 months
(The Sports Xchange) - Steve Smith Sr., a tough, elusive, explosive receiver over 16 years in the NFL, confirmed his retirement after Sunday's loss to the Bengals in the team's regular season finale. Smith, 37, went out quietly on Sunday with three catches for 34 yards in the 27-10 loss to the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium and did not reach the end zone. "I wasn't going to concern myself with getting more passes or going out like Kobe (Bryant), anything like that," Smith said.
Article Link:
Yahoo News article
In A Crappy Year, These Sports Moments Brought Us Joy
Huffington Post - 2 months
Dear 2016, kindly slink off into the abyss and never show your face again.  This year, the U.S. saw its worst mass shooting in history. A zoo gorilla got executed. David Bowie and Prince died. Donald Trump got elected. The list is painfully long. Yet amid the persistent doom and gloom, we had sports to thank for some truly joyful moments. Peyton Manning Saddled Up For One More Rodeo And Won A Ring America’s favorite dad quarterback ended his career by leading the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl win in February.  All season, the Broncos wrecked their opponents thanks to Manning’s strong leadership and a vicious defense led by Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. The Broncos ultimately beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10, giving Manning a pretty nice send-off.  Kobe Bryant Retired From The NBA, But Not Before Sinking 60 Points Kobe Bryant knows how to put on a show. In April, for his final NBA game, the legendary player took to the court to do one thing: demolish. The L.A. Laker ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Kobe Bryant Shares 1st Photo of Newborn Daughter
ABC News - 2 months
The former NBA player and his wife welcomed Bianka Bella Bryant Dec. 5.
Article Link:
ABC News article
Carmelo Anthony improving ball hog 'tendency,' Phil Jackson says
ABC News - 3 months
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson said Carmelo Anthony?can play the "role that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant played" in their teams' triangle offenses, but he believes that Anthony sometimes breaks a team rule by holding on to the ball for too long. "Carmelo a lot of times wants to hold the ball longer than -- we have a rule: If you hold a pass two seconds, you benefit the defense. So he has a little bit of a tendency to hold it for three, four, five seconds, and then everybody comes to a stop," Jackson said in an interview with CBS Sports Network that aired Tuesday. "That is one of the things we work with. But he's adjusted to [the triangle], he knows what he can do and he's willing to see its success." Jackson's comments were prompted by a question about whether Anthony can fit in the triangle offense. Jackson made it clear he believes Anthony can. "He can play that role that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant played," Jackson said. "It's a perfect. ...
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ABC News article
Thompson first player to post 60 points in under 30 minutes
Yahoo News - 3 months
(The Sports Xchange) - Klay Thompson remembers the night Kobe Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006. Thompson, a teenager growing up in Los Angeles as the son of an NBA player, was offered tickets to the game. Almost 11 years later, Thompson did his best impersonation of a performance he never saw, exploding for 23 of his career-high 60 points in the second quarter on Monday night, propelling the Golden State Warriors to a 142-106 home victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Article Link:
Yahoo News article
Rebuilding Lakers the league's early surprise package
Yahoo News - 4 months
(Reuters) - The unfancied Los Angeles Lakers, without a single All-Star player in their first campaign without Kobe Bryant for two decades, have been the early surprise package in this young NBA season. In the absence of the retired Bryant, who was often accused of being a ball-hog during his stellar NBA career, the rebuilding Lakers have successfully adopted a truly democratic 'pass, pass, pass' mantra while posting a 5-4 win-loss record. Lou Williams led the balanced Lakers with 21 points, 13 of them coming in the fourth quarter, while D'Angelo Russell added 17, Nick Young 16 and Julius Randle 15 as Los Angeles won for the fourth time in a five-game stretch.
Article Link:
Yahoo News article
Singles Day, The World's Biggest Online Shopping Day, Has Nothing To Do With Thanksgiving
Huffington Post - 4 months
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Cyber Monday? Child’s play. “Prime Day?” No way. Black Friday? Pfft. The biggest online shopping day of our time is “Singles Day,” a Chinese holiday on Nov. 11. (Formerly a minor holiday, it gets its name from its date in numerals ― 11/11). Chinese online marketplace Alibaba first promoted the holiday as a sales event in 2009; the day has since grown to become an online behemoth.  Last year, Alibaba did $14.3 billion worth of sales on Singles Day alone. Shopp ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Kobe Bryant
    THIRTIES
  • 2016
    Age 37
    On August 22, 2016, Kobe along with his business partner Jeff Stibel launched Bryant-Stibel, a venture capital firm focused on different businesses including media, data, gaming and technology, with $100 million in funding.
    More Details Hide Details The pair have already invested in 15 businesses together since 2013.
    In 2016, it was announced that Kobe and Vanessa Bryant were going to have their third child.
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    On April 13, 2016, Bryant played his final NBA game against the Utah Jazz, scoring a season-high 60 points (the most points scored by a player that season), including outscoring the entire Jazz team 23–21 in the fourth quarter, in the Lakers' 101–96 victory.
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    Bryant was the leading overall vote-getter for the 2016 All-Star Game with 1.9 million votes, ahead of Stephen Curry's 1.6 million.
    More Details Hide Details Having moved to small forward that season, Bryant was selected as a frontcourt starter for the first time. Playing in his first All-Star game since 2013, Bryant had 10 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. West teammates offered to feed him the ball in an attempt to get him another All-Star MVP, but he declined.
  • 2015
    Age 36
    On November 29, 2015, Bryant announced via The Players' Tribune that he will be retiring at the end of the season.
    More Details Hide Details In his poem titled "Dear Basketball", Bryant wrote that he fell in love with the game at age six; "A love so deep I gave you my all/From my mind & body/To my spirit & soul." The 2015–16 season "is all I have left to give./My heart can take the pounding/My mind can handle the grind/But my body knows it's time to say goodbye./And that's OK./I’m ready to let you go." In a letter distributed to Lakers' fans before that evening's game against the Indiana Pacers, Bryant wrote, "What you've done for me is far greater than anything I've done for you.... My love for this city, this team and for each of you will never fade. Thank you for this incredible journey." At the time of his announcement, he was second on the team in minutes (30.8) behind Jordan Clarkson and leading the team with 16.7 field goal attempts per game, while averaging just 15.7 points and shooting a career-low 31.5 percent. His free throw attempts had dropped from his career average, and his game had become over-reliant on pump fakes and long-range shots, making a league-worst 19.5 percent from three-point range while attempting seven a game, almost double his career average. In his press conference after the announcement, he acknowledged his declining skills. "Even though I play like shit, I’ve worked really, really hard not to play like crap and I do everything I possibly can.
    On December 1, 2015, Bryant played his last game against his hometown team, the Philadelphia 76ers, where the Lakers lost 91-103.
    More Details Hide Details The following day, Bryant had his first game over 30 points since April 12, 2013, where Bryant scored 31 points against the Washington Wizards.
    After recovering to play in the 2015–16 preseason, Bryant suffered a calf injury and missed the final two weeks of exhibition games. However, he played in the season opener to begin his 20th season with the Lakers, surpassing John Stockton's league record of 19 for the most seasons with the same team. On November 24, 2015, the Lakers fell to 2–12 after losing 111–77 to the Warriors, as the defending NBA champions improved to 16–0 and broke the league record for consecutive wins to start a season.
    More Details Hide Details Bryant scored just four points in 25 minutes on 1-for-14 shooting, matching the worst-shooting game of his career in which he attempted at least five shots.
    He was expected to be sidelined for nine months with a return targeted toward the start of the 2015–16 season.
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    On January 21, 2015, Bryant suffered a rotator cuff tear in his right shoulder while driving baseline for a two-handed dunk against the New Orleans Pelicans.
    More Details Hide Details Though he is a right-handed, he returned to play in the game and ran the offense while shooting, dribbling, and passing almost exclusively with his left hand. Prior to the injury, Bryant had been rested in 8 of 16 games. He underwent season-ending surgery for the injury, finishing the season averaging 22.3 points but shooting a career-low 37.3 percent, well below his 45.4 percent career mark to start the season.
  • 2014
    Age 35
    On November 30, 2014, in a 129–122 overtime victory against the Toronto Raptors, Bryant recorded his 20th career triple-double with 31 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds.
    More Details Hide Details At age 36, he became the oldest NBA player to ever achieve 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in a game. On December 14, Bryant became the NBA's third all-time leading scorer, passing Jordan (32,292) in a 100–94 win against Minnesota. He played in the first 27 games of the season, averaging team-highs with 26.4 points and 35.4 minutes per game while leading the league with 22.4 shots per game. However, Scott held him out for three straight games to rest after one of his worst performances of the season, when Bryant committed nine turnovers and scored 25 points on just 8-for-30 shooting in a 108–101 loss to Sacramento. He was suffering from soreness in his knees, feet, back, and Achilles tendons, and Scott planned to reduce his workload going forward. Three times Bryant had exceeded 40 minutes in a game, and the coach blamed himself for overloading him after he started the season in such great shape. For the season, Bryant had been shooting just 37 percent from the field, and the team's record was only 8–19. In his second game back after resting, he had 23 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds in a 111–103 win over Denver, and became just the third player in league history to record multiple triple-doubles in a season at age 36 or older.
    Bryant returned for the 2014–15 season, his 19th season with the Lakers, who had replaced D'Antoni with Bryant's former Lakers teammate, Byron Scott.
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    On March 12, 2014, the Lakers ruled Bryant out for the remainder of the season, citing his need for more rehab and the limited time remaining in the season.
    More Details Hide Details At the time, the team was 22–42 and tied for the worst record in the Western Conference. The Lakers finished 27–55 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
  • 2013
    Age 34
    On April 10, 2013, Bryant became the first player in NBA history to get 47 points, eight rebounds, five assists, four blocks and three steals in an NBA game.
    More Details Hide Details On April 12, Bryant suffered a torn Achilles tendon against the Golden State Warriors, ending his season. His injury came while he was playing seven consecutive quarters and at least 40 minutes for seven consecutive games. The 34-year-old Bryant was averaging his most minutes (38.6) in six years, and only Portland rookie Damian Lillard was averaging more minutes. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak had spoken to Bryant about his extensive playing time 10 days earlier, but Bryant insisted the minutes needed to continue given the Lakers' playoff push. Bryant had surgery on April 13 to repair the tear, and it was estimated he would miss six to nine months. He ended the season with his customary numbers scoring average of 27.3 points, 46.3 percent shooting, 5.6 rebounds and 6 assists. However, The New York Times called his leading of the Lakers back into playoff contention "perhaps some of the finest work of his career." Eight times he reached 40 points during the season, and eleven times he had 10 or more assists in his role as distributor, dubbed "Magic Mamba" after the passing skills of Magic Johnson. Bryant's assists were the second-highest of his career and his field goal percentage was its highest since 2008–09.
    On January 11, 2013, Bryant and his wife both announced via social media that they had called off their divorce.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
    Bryant resumed practicing starting in November, after the start of the 2013–14 season.
    More Details Hide Details On November 25, he signed a two-year contract extension with the Lakers at an estimated value of $48.5 million that would make him the first NBA player to play 20 years with the same franchise. He remained the league's highest-paid player, despite accepting the discounted deal; he had been eligible to receive an extension starting at $32 million per year. His contract became a polarizing topic, with detractors arguing that stars should take less money to allow their teams more financial freedom, while supporters countered that the NBA's biggest stars were being paid less than their true value. Bryant resumed playing on December 8 after missing the season's first 19 games. On December 17, Bryant matched his season high of 21 points in a 96–92 win over Memphis, but he suffered a lateral tibial plateau fracture in his left knee that was expected to sideline him for six weeks. He had played six games since returning from his Achilles injury, which included time at point guard after injuries to Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar. Bryant was averaging 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.3 rebounds. Despite being sidelined, he was voted by fans to start in his 16th All-Star game. Bryant did not feel he was deserving of the selection, and some likened it to a career achievement award for his past performance. However, he missed playing in the game, still hampered by his knee.
  • 2012
    Age 33
    In an annual survey of NBA general managers, he was selected in 2012 for the 10th consecutive season as the player they most wanted taking the shot with the game on the line.
    More Details Hide Details Bryant enjoys being the villain, and revels in being booed and silencing the crowd with his play. His ability to make difficult shots has also drawn criticism of his shot selection. Throughout his career, he has been disparaged for being a selfish high-volume shooter; he has missed more field goal attempts in his career than any other player in NBA history. Phil Jackson states that Bryant "tends to force the action, especially when the game isn't going his way. When his shot is off, Kobe will pound away relentlessly until his luck turns." According to Bryant, "I would go for 30 before I would go for 9; for 9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game." Aside from his abilities on offense, he has established himself as a standout defender. Bryant rarely draws charges playing defense, which he believes has spared his body and contributed to his longevity. Some critics have suggested that the defensive accolades in his later years were earned more on his reputation than his actual play. His role with the Lakers became more focused on offense and conserving his energy for the playoffs, and Metta World Peace assumed the responsibility of guarding the opponent's top player on the wing.
    On November 2, 2012, Bryant scored 40 points with two steals, and he passed Magic Johnson (1,724) as the Lakers career leader in steals.
    More Details Hide Details However, the Lakers lost the game to the Clippers and started the season 0–3 for the first time in 34 years and just the fourth time in franchise history. After starting the season 1–4, coach Brown was fired. He was replaced by Mike D'Antoni, who Bryant knew as a child when Bryant's father was playing in Italy and D'Antoni was also a star player there. Bryant had grown close with D'Antoni during their time with Team USA. On December 5 against New Orleans, Bryant became the youngest player (34 years and 104 days) in league history to score 30,000 points, joining Hall of Famers Chamberlain, Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Karl Malone as one of five players to reach that milestone. On December 18, in a 101–100 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, Bryant scored 30+ points in his seventh consecutive game, the longest streak ever by an NBA player after turning 34 years old; it was the fourth-longest such streak in his career. His streak would be snapped at 10 on December 28 in a 104–87 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, when he scored 27 points, sitting out the whole fourth quarter. In a move to improve the team's defense, D'Antoni began having Bryant guard the opponent's best perimeter player; Bryant was the primary defender on the Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving, who was held to 15 points. Bryant acknowledged he was a more focused defender when he had a challenging defensive assignment as opposed to when he played off the ball against weaker players.
    At the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, Bryant scored 27 points to pass Jordan as the career scoring leader in the All-Star Game.
    More Details Hide Details He also suffered a broken nose and a concussion in the third quarter of the All-Star Game after a hard foul from Dwyane Wade. In April, Bryant missed seven games with a bruised left shin. He returned three games before the end of the regular season. In the last game of the regular season, against Sacramento, he chose not to go for a possible third NBA scoring title, having needed 38 points to surpass Kevin Durant. The Lakers were knocked out of the playoffs by Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round of the playoffs, losing in five games. The Lakers in 2012–13 acquired center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash.
    On January 10, 2012, Bryant scored 48 points against the Suns, the most ever by a player in his 16th season. "Not bad for the seventh-best player in the league", said Bryant, referring to a preseason ESPN ranking of the NBA's top players.
    More Details Hide Details He went on to score 40, 42, and 42 in his next three games. It was the sixth time in his career he scored 40 or more points in four straight games, a feat exceeded only by Chamberlain (19 times).
  • 2011
    Age 32
    On December 16, 2011, Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences, and the couple requested joint custody of their daughters.
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    On April 13, 2011, the NBA fined Bryant $100,000 for directing a gay slur at referee Bennie Adams in frustration in the previous day's game.
    More Details Hide Details The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation praised the NBA's decision to fine Bryant, and the Human Rights Campaign said that Bryant's language was a "disgrace" and "distasteful". Bryant stated that he was open to discussing the matter with gay rights groups and wanted to appeal his fine. He later apologized for the use of the word. Bryant and other Lakers appeared in a Lakers public service announcement denouncing his behavior. The team's quest for another three-peat was ended when they were swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs. The Mavericks would go on to win the 2011 NBA Finals. Bryant received experimental platelet-rich plasma therapy called Orthokine in Germany to treat the pain on his left knee and ankle, and Mike Brown replaced the retired Jackson as coach of the Lakers in the offseason. Bryant began the season playing with an injured wrist.
    Bryant, selected to his 13th straight All-Star game after becoming the leading vote-getter, had 37 points, 14 rebounds, and three steals in the 2011 All-Star Game and won his fourth All-Star MVP, tying Hall of Famer Bob Pettit for the most All-Star MVP awards.
    More Details Hide Details During the season, Bryant moved from 12th to 6th place on the NBA all-time career scoring list, passing John Havlicek, Dominique Wilkins, Oscar Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes, and Moses Malone. Bryant finished the season averaging less than 20 shots a game, his fewest since the 2003–04 season.
    On February 1, 2011, Bryant became one of seven players with at least 25,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 5,000 assists.
    More Details Hide Details In Boston on February 10, Bryant scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half as the Lakers rallied from an early 15-point deficit for a 92–86 win over the Celtics. It was the Lakers' first victory of the season against one of the league's top four teams, as they entered the game 0–5 in previous matchups and had been outscored by an average of 11 points.
  • 2009
    Age 30
    He led the Lakers to two more championships in 2009 and 2010, winning the Finals MVP award on both occasions.
    More Details Hide Details
    During the 2009–10 season, Bryant made six game-winning shots including a buzzer-beating, one-legged 3-pointer against the Miami Heat on December 4, 2009.
    More Details Hide Details Bryant considered the shot one of the luckiest he has made. A week later, Bryant suffered an avulsion fracture in his right index finger in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite the injury, Bryant elected to continue playing with it, rather than take any time off to rest the injury. Five days after his finger injury, he made another game winning shot, after missing on an opportunity in regulation, this time against the Milwaukee Bucks in an overtime game. Bryant also became the youngest player (31 years, 151 days) to reach 25,000 points during the season, surpassing Chamberlain. He continued his dominant clutch plays making yet another game-winning three-pointer against the Sacramento Kings, and what would be the game-winning field goal against the Boston Celtics. The following day, he surpassed West to become the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. After being sidelined for five games from an ankle injury, Bryant made his return and made another clutch three-pointer to give the Lakers a one-point lead with four seconds remaining against the Memphis Grizzlies. Two weeks later, he made his sixth game-winning shot of the season against the Toronto Raptors.
    During the 2009 NBA All-Star Game, Bryant who tallied 27 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals was awarded All-Star Game co-MVP with former teammate O'Neal.
    More Details Hide Details The Lakers finished the regular season with the best record in the west (65–17). Bryant was runner-up in the MVP voting behind LeBron James, and was selected to the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team for the seventh time in his career. In the playoffs, the Lakers defeated the Utah Jazz in five games and the Houston Rockets in seven games in the opening two rounds. After finishing off the Denver Nuggets in the Conference Finals in six games, the Lakers earned their second straight trip to the NBA Finals where they defeated the Orlando Magic in five games. Bryant was awarded his first NBA Finals MVP trophy upon winning his fourth championship, achieving series averages of 32.4 points, 7.4 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks. He became the first player since West in the 1969 NBA Finals to average at least 32.4 points and 7.4 assists for a finals series and the first since Jordan to average 30 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for a title-winning team in the finals.
    In a game against the Knicks on February 2, 2009, Bryant scored 61 points, setting a record for the most points scored at Madison Square Garden.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TWENTIES
  • 2008
    Age 29
    In a rematch against the 2008 Champion Boston Celtics, Bryant, despite shooting 6 for 24 from the field, led the Lakers back from a thirteen-point third quarter deficit in Game 7 to win the championship; he scored 10 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter, and finished the game with 15 rebounds.
    More Details Hide Details Bryant won his fifth championship and earned his second consecutive NBA Finals MVP award. This marked the first time the Lakers won a Game 7 against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Bryant said that this was the most satisfying of all of his five championships. Bryant wanted a sixth championship to match Jordan's total. The Lakers started the 2010–11 season by winning their first eight games. In his ninth game of the season, playing against the Denver Nuggets, Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 26,000 career points. Bryant also recorded his first triple double since January 21, 2009. On January 30 against the Celtics, he became the youngest player to score 27,000 points.
    In addition to winning his MVP award, Bryant was the only unanimous selection to the All-NBA team on May 8, 2008 for the third straight season and sixth time in his career.
    More Details Hide Details He would then headline the NBA All-Defensive First Team with Kevin Garnett, receiving 52 points overall including 24 first-place nods, earning his eighth selection. The Lakers concluded the 2007–08 regular season with a 57–25 record, finishing first in the Western Conference and setting up themselves for a first-round contest against the Nuggets. In Game 1, Bryant, who said he made himself a decoy through most of the game, scored 18 of his 32 points in the final 8 minutes to keep Los Angeles safely ahead. That made Denver the first 50-win team to be swept out of the first round of the playoffs since the Memphis Grizzlies fell in four to the San Antonio Spurs in 2004. In the first game of the next round against the Jazz, Bryant scored 38 points as the Lakers beat the Jazz in Game 1. The Lakers won the next game as well, but dropped Games 3 and 4, even with Bryant putting up 33.5 points per game. The Lakers then won the next two games to win the semifinals in 6. This set up a Western Conference Finals berth against the San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers defeated the Spurs in 5 games, sending themselves to the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. This marked the fifth time in Bryant's career and the first time without O'Neal to go to the NBA Finals. The Lakers then lost to the Boston Celtics in 6 games.
    The Lakers swept the Nuggets in the first round and on May 6, 2008, and Bryant was officially announced as the league MVP.
    More Details Hide Details He said, "It's been a long ride. I'm very proud to represent this organization, to represent this city." West, who was responsible for bringing Bryant to the Lakers, was on hand at the press conference to observe Bryant receive his MVP trophy from NBA commissioner David Stern. He stated, "Kobe deserved it. He's had just another great season. Doesn't surprise me one bit."
    In early September 2008, Bryant decided not to have surgery to repair the injury.
    More Details Hide Details Aided by the signing of Spanish All-Star Pau Gasol, Bryant lead his team to a West best 57–25 record.
    Despite an injury to his shooting hand's small finger, described as "a complete tear of the radial collateral ligament, an avulsion fracture, and a volar plate injury at the MCP joint" that occurred in a game on February 5, 2008, Bryant played all 82 games of the regular season instead of opting for surgery.
    More Details Hide Details Regarding his injury, he stated, "I would prefer to delay any surgical procedure until after our Lakers season, and this summer's Olympic Games. But, this is an injury that and the Lakers' medical staff will just have to continue to monitor on a day-to-day basis."
    After losing in the 2008 NBA Finals, he led the Lakers to two consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, earning the Finals MVP Award on both occasions.
    More Details Hide Details He continued to be among the top players in the league through 2013, when the 34-year-old Bryant suffered a torn Achilles tendon. Although he recovered, his play was limited the following two years by season-ending injuries to his knee and shoulder, respectively. Citing his physical decline, he announced that he would be retiring 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 is also the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. Following his second year in the league, Bryant was chosen to start every All-Star Game until his retirement for a record 18 consecutive appearances, and 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. Sporting News and TNT named Bryant the top NBA player of the 2000s.
  • 2007
    Age 28
    He was a member of the 2007 USA Men's Senior National Team and USA FIBA Americas Championship Team that finished 10–0, won gold and qualified the United States men for the 2008 Olympics.
    More Details Hide Details He started in all 10 of the USA's FIBA Americas Championship games. Bryant averaged 15.3 points, 2.9 assists, 2. rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game in the tournament. On June 23, 2008, he was named to the USA Men's Senior National Team for the 2008 Summer Olympics. This was his first time going to the Olympics. Bryant scored 20 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, along with six assists, as Team USA defeated Spain 118–107 in the gold medal game of the 2008 Summer Olympics on August 24, 2008, for its first gold medal in a worldwide competition since the 2000 Olympics. He averaged 15. points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting .462 from the field in eight Olympic contests. Bryant rejoined the national team for the 2012 Summer Olympics. He retired from the team after winning another gold medal.
    On December 23, 2007, Bryant became the youngest player (29 years, 122 days) to reach 20,000 points, in a game against the New York Knicks, in Madison Square Garden.
    More Details Hide Details This record has since been broken by LeBron James.
    On May 27, 2007, ESPN reported that Bryant stated that he wanted to be traded if Jerry West did not return to the team with full authority.
    More Details Hide Details Bryant later confirmed his desire for West's return to the franchise, but denied stating that he would want to be traded if that does not occur. However, three days later, on Stephen A. Smith's radio program, Bryant expressed anger over a Lakers "insider" who claimed that Bryant was responsible for Shaquille O'Neal's departure from the team, and publicly stated, "I want to be traded." Three hours after making that statement, Bryant stated in another interview that after having a conversation with head coach Jackson, he has reconsidered his decision and backed off his trade request. Bryant would later be shown on an infamous amateur video saying that center Andrew Bynum should have been traded for All-Star Jason Kidd.
  • 2006
    Age 27
    However, he was once again sidelined after knee surgery and didn't participate in the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
    More Details Hide Details Bryant's United States national team career finally began in 2007.
    Throughout the 2006–07 season, his jersey became the top selling NBA jersey in the United States and China.
    More Details Hide Details A number of journalists have attributed the improved sales to Bryant's new number, as well as his continuing All-Star performance on the court. In the 2007 NBA Playoffs, the Lakers were once again eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns, 4–1.
    During the 2006–07 season, Bryant was selected to his 9th All-Star Game appearance, and on February 18, he logged 31 points, 6 assists, and 6 steals, earning his second career All-Star Game MVP trophy.
    More Details Hide Details Over the course of the season, Bryant became involved in a number of on court incidents. On January 28 while attempting to draw contact on a potential game winning jumpshot, he flailed his arm, striking San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginóbili in the face with his elbow. Following a league review, Bryant was suspended for the subsequent game at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks. The basis given for the suspension was that Bryant had performed an "unnatural motion" in swinging his arm backwards. Later, on March 6, he seemed to repeat the motion, this time striking Minnesota Timberwolves guard Marko Jarić. On March 7, the NBA handed Bryant his second one-game suspension. In his first game back on March 9, he elbowed Kyle Korver in the face which was retroactively re-classified as a Type 1 flagrant foul.
    Later in the season, it was reported that Bryant would change his jersey number from 8 to 24 at the start of the 2006–07 NBA season.
    More Details Hide Details Bryant's first high school number was 24 before he switched to 33. After the Lakers' season ended, Bryant said on TNT that he wanted 24 as a rookie, but it was unavailable, as was 33, retired with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bryant wore 143 at the Adidas ABCD camp, and chose 8 by adding those numbers. In the first round of the playoffs, the Lakers played well enough to reach a 3–1 series lead over the Phoenix Suns, culminating with Bryant's OT-forcing and game-winning shots in Game 4. They came within six seconds of eliminating the second-seeded Suns in Game 6, however, they lost that game 126–118 in overtime. Despite Bryant's 27.9 points per game in the series, the Lakers broke down, and ultimately fell to the Suns in seven games. After scoring 50 points on 20 of 35 shooting in the Game 6 loss, Bryant was criticized for only taking three shots in the second half of the 121–90 Game 7 loss to Phoenix.
    Bryant finished in fourth place in the voting for the 2006 NBA Most Valuable Player Award, but received 22 first place votes—second only to winner Steve Nash.
    More Details Hide Details The Los Angeles Lakers posted a 45–37 record, an eleven-game improvement over the previous season, and the entire squad seemed to be clicking.
    On January 22, 2006, Bryant scored a career-high 81 points in a 122–104 victory against the Toronto Raptors.
    More Details Hide Details In addition to breaking the previous franchise record of 71 set by Elgin Baylor, Bryant's 81-point game was the second-highest point total in NBA history, surpassed only by Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962. Whereas Chamberlain was fed repeatedly by teammates for inside shots in a blowout win, Bryant created his own shot—mostly from the outside—in a game which the Lakers trailed at halftime by 14 and did not pull away until the fourth quarter. Chamberlain, playing in an era when the games were paced faster and scoring opportunities were more plentiful, accounted for 59 percent of his team's points in Philadelphia's 169–147 win, compared to Bryant scoring 66 percent of the Lakers' 122 points. In that same month, Bryant also became the first player since 1964 to score 45 points or more in four consecutive games, joining Chamberlain and Baylor as the only players ever to do so. For the month of January, Bryant averaged 43.4 points per game, the eighth highest single month scoring average in NBA history and highest for any player other than Chamberlain. By the end of the 2005–06 season, Bryant set Lakers single-season franchise records for most 40-point games (27) and most points scored (2,832). He won the league's scoring title for the first time by averaging 35.4 points per game, becoming just the fifth player in league history to average at least 35 in a season.
    When the Lakers faced the Miami Heat on January 16, 2006, Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal made headlines by engaging in handshakes and hugs before the game, signifying a change in the feud that had festered between them.
    More Details Hide Details A month later, at the 2006 NBA All-Star Game, the two were seen laughing together.
  • 2005
    Age 26
    On December 20, 2005, Bryant scored 62 points in three quarters against the Dallas Mavericks.
    More Details Hide Details Entering the fourth quarter, Bryant outscored the entire Mavericks team 62–61, the only time a player has done this through three quarters since the introduction of the shot clock.
    The 2005–06 NBA season would mark a crossroads in Bryant's basketball career.
    More Details Hide Details Despite past differences with Bryant, Jackson returned to coach the Lakers. Bryant endorsed the move, and by all appearances, the two men worked together well the second time around, leading the Lakers back into the playoffs. Bryant's individual scoring accomplishments posted resulted in the finest statistical season of his career.
  • 2003
    Age 24
    In the summer of 2003, the sheriff's office of Eagle, Colorado, arrested Bryant in connection with an investigation of a sexual assault complaint filed by a 19-year-old hotel employee.
    More Details Hide Details Bryant had checked into The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Eagle County in advance of undergoing knee surgery nearby. The accuser stated that Bryant raped her in his hotel room the night before Bryant was to have the procedure. Bryant admitted to an adulterous sexual encounter with his accuser, but denied her sexual assault allegation. In his interview with police, Bryant also acknowledged a "frequent" adulterous sexual relationship with another woman named "Michelle" at the time. The accusation tarnished Bryant's reputation, as the public's perception of Bryant plummeted, and his endorsement contracts with McDonald's and Nutella were terminated. Sales for Bryant's replica jersey fell significantly from their previous highs. However, in September 2004, the assault case was dropped by prosecutors after the accuser refused to testify in the trial. Afterward, Bryant agreed to apologize to her for the incident, including his public mea culpa: "Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter." The accuser filed a separate civil lawsuit against Bryant, which the two sides ultimately settled with the specific terms of the settlement being undisclosed to the public.
    Bryant was originally selected for the FIBA Americas Championship in 2003, but withdrew after undergoing arthroscopic shoulder and knee surgeries.
    More Details Hide Details In the following summer, he had to withdraw from the Olympic team because of his sexual assault case. Along with LeBron James, he was one of the first two players to publicly named to the 2006–2008 U.S. preliminary roster in 2006 by Jerry Colangelo.
    The book detailed the events of the Lakers' tumultuous 2003–04 season and has a number of criticisms of Bryant.
    More Details Hide Details In the book, Jackson called Bryant "un-coachable". Midway through the season, Tomjanovich suddenly resigned as Lakers coach, citing the recurrence of health problems and exhaustion. Without Tomjanovich, stewardship of the remainder of the Lakers' season fell to career assistant coach Frank Hamblen. Bryant was the league's second-leading scorer at 27.6 points per game, but he was surrounded by a subpar supporting cast, and the Lakers went 34–48 and missed the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. The year signified a drop in Bryant's overall status in the NBA, as he did not make the NBA All-Defensive Team and was also demoted to the All-NBA Third Team. During the season, Bryant also engaged in public feuds with Malone and Ray Allen.
    In the following 2003–04 season, the Lakers were able to acquire NBA All-Stars Karl Malone, and Gary Payton to make another push at the NBA Championship.
    More Details Hide Details Before the season began, Bryant was arrested for sexual assault. This caused Bryant to miss some games due to court appearances or attend court earlier in the day and travel to play games later in same day. In the final game of the regular season, the Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers. Bryant made two buzzer beaters to win the game and the Pacific Division title. At the end of the fourth quarter, Bryant made a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left to send it into overtime. The game eventually went to a second overtime, in which Bryant made another 3-pointer as time expired to lift the Lakers past the Blazers, 105–104. With a starting lineup of O'Neal, Malone, Payton, and Bryant, the Lakers were able to reach the NBA Finals. However, they were upset in five games by the Detroit Pistons, who won their first championship since 1990. In that series, Bryant averaged 22.6 points per game and 4.4 assists. He shot 35.1% from the field. Jackson's contract as coach was not renewed, and Rudy Tomjanovich took over. O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant. The following day, Bryant declined an offer to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers and re-signed with the Lakers on a seven-year contract.
  • 2002
    Age 23
    He also decided not to play in the 2002 FIBA World Championship.
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    Bryant was suspended one game after he punched Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers after the Lakers' March 1, 2002 victory over the Pacers.
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    In the 2002–03 season, Bryant set an NBA record for three-pointers on January 7, 2003, making 12 against the Seattle SuperSonics.
    More Details Hide Details He averaged 30 points per game and embarked on a historic run, posting 40 or more points in nine consecutive games while averaging 40.6 in the entire month of February. In addition, he averaged 6.9 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 2.2 steals per game, all career highs to that point. Bryant was once again voted to both the All-NBA and All-Defensive 1st teams, and came in third place in voting for the MVP award. After finishing 50–32 in the regular season, the Lakers floundered in the playoffs and lost in the Western Conference semi-finals to the eventual NBA champions San Antonio Spurs in six games.
    In the 2002 Finals against the New Jersey Nets, Bryant averaged 26.8 points, 51.4% shooting, 5.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists per game, which included scoring a quarter of the teams points.
    More Details Hide Details At age 23, Bryant became the youngest player to win three championships. Bryant's play was notable and praised for his performance in the 4th quarter of games, specifically the last 2 rounds of the playoffs. This cemented Bryant's reputation as a "clutch player".
  • 2001
    Age 22
    In the 2001–02 season, Bryant played 80 games for the first time in his career.
    More Details Hide Details He continued his all-round play by averaging 25.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. He also had a career high 46.9% shooting and once again led his team in assists. He claimed his first All-Star MVP trophy after a 31-point performance in Philadelphia, when he was loudly booed by fans as they had throughout the game, stemming from his earlier comment to a 76ers heckler during the Finals that the Lakers were "going to cut your hearts out". While making the All-NBA Defensive team again, he was also promoted to the All-NBA First Team for the first time in his career. The Lakers won 58 games that year and finished second place in the Pacific Division behind in-state rival Sacramento Kings.
  • 2000
    Age 21
    The two began dating and became engaged just six months later in May 2000, while Laine was still a senior at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California. To avoid media scrutiny, she finished high school through independent study. According to Vanessa's cousin Laila Laine, there was no prenuptial agreement. Vanessa said Bryant "loved her too much for one". They married on April 18, 2001, at St. Edward the Confessor Roman Catholic Church in Dana Point, California.
    More Details Hide Details The wedding was not attended by Bryant's parents, his two sisters, his longtime advisor and agent Arn Tellem, or his Laker teammates. Bryant's parents were opposed to the marriage for a number of reasons. Reportedly Bryant's parents had problems with him marrying so young, especially to a woman who was not African-American. This disagreement resulted in an estrangement period of over two years, which ended when the couple's first daughter was born. In 2013, Bryant had a legal disagreement with an auction house over memorabilia from his early years that his mother intended to auction. Pamela Bryant received $450,000 from the auction house for the items, and claimed Bryant had given her the rights to the items he had remaining in her home. However, his lawyers asked the auction house to return the items to Bryant. Before the scheduled trial, a settlement was reached allowing the sale of less than 10% of the original items. Bryant's parents apologized to him in a written statement, which also acknowledged the financial support Bryant had provided them in the past.
    Sony pushed Bryant from his roots of underground hip hop into a more radio-friendly sound. His debut album, Visions, was scheduled to release in the spring of 2000. The first single, "K.O.B.E'", featured supermodel Tyra Banks singing the hook. The single debuted in January 2000, and was performed at NBA All-Star Weekend that month; the song was not well received.
    More Details Hide Details Sony abandoned plans for the album, which was never released, and dropped Bryant later that year. The Sony president who originally signed Bryant had already left, and Bryant's other backers had mostly abandoned him. Afterwards, Bryant co-founded an independent record label, Heads High Entertainment, but it folded within a year. In 2011, Bryant was featured in Taiwanese singer Jay Chou's single, "The Heaven and Earth Challenge" (天地一鬥, pronounced "Tian Di Yi Dou"). The proceeds for downloads of both the single and ringtones were donated to impoverished schools for basketball facilities and equipment. The music video of the single also features Bryant. The song was also used by Sprite in its 2011 marketing campaign in China. In 2009, rapper Lil Wayne titled a song "Kobe Bryant". Similarly, in 2010, the rapper Sho Baraka released a song called "Kobe Bryant On'em", which was featured in his album Lions and Liars.
    Bryant declined to play in the 2000 Olympics as he was getting married in the off-season.
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    Statistically, the 2000–01 season saw Bryant perform similarly to the previous year, but he averaged 6 more points a game (28.5).
    More Details Hide Details It was also the year when disagreements between Bryant and O'Neal began to surface. Once again he led the team in assists with 5 per game. The Lakers however, only won 56 games, an 11-game drop off from last year. The Lakers would respond by going 15–1 in the playoffs. They easily swept the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, and San Antonio Spurs to advance to the Finals, before losing their first game against the Philadelphia 76ers in OT. They would go on to win the next 4 games and bring their second championship to Los Angeles in as many seasons. During the playoffs, Bryant played heavy minutes which brought his stats up to 29.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game. In the playoffs, teammate O'Neal declared Bryant the best player in the league. Bryant ended up making the All NBA Second team and All NBA Defensive Team for the second year in a row. In addition, he was also voted to start in the NBA All-Star Game for the 3rd year in a row (no game in 1999).
    In the 2000 Finals against the Indiana Pacers, Bryant injured his ankle in the second quarter of Game 2 after landing on the Pacers' Jalen Rose's foot.
    More Details Hide Details Rose later admitted he placed his foot under Bryant intentionally. Bryant did not return to the game, and he also missed Game 3 due to the injury. In Game 4, Bryant scored 22 points in the second half, and led the team to an OT victory as O'Neal fouled out of the game. Bryant scored the winning shot to put the Lakers ahead 120–118. With a 116–111 Game 6 victory, the Lakers won their first championship since 1988.
    The three resulting championships won consecutively in 2000, 2001, and 2002 further proved such a fact.
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    Despite a feud between them, Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive championships from 2000 to 2002.
    More Details Hide Details In 2003, Bryant was accused of sexual assault in Colorado, but the charges were eventually dropped, and a civil suit was settled out of court. After the Lakers lost the 2004 NBA Finals, O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat. Bryant became the cornerstone of the Lakers, and 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. Bryant was awarded the regular season's Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in 2008.
  • 1999
    Age 20
    With Bryant back and playing over 38 minutes a game, he saw an increase in all statistical categories in the 1999–2000 season.
    More Details Hide Details This included leading the team in assists per game and steals per game. The duo of O'Neal and Bryant backed with a strong bench led to the Lakers winning 67 games, tied for fifth-most in NBA history. This followed with O'Neal winning the MVP and Bryant being named to the All-NBA Team Second Team and All-NBA Defensive Team for the first time in his career (the youngest player ever to receive defensive honors). While playing second fiddle to O'Neal in the playoffs, Bryant had some clutch performances including a 25-point, 11 rebound, 7 assist, 4 block game in game 7 of the Western Conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers. He also threw an alley-oop pass to O'Neal to clinch the game and the series.
    Bryant started the 1999–2000 season sidelined for six weeks due to an injury to his hand suffered during a preseason game against the Washington Wizards.
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    Bryant's fortunes would soon change when Phil Jackson became coach for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999.
    More Details Hide Details After years of steady improvement, Bryant became one of the premier shooting guards in the league, earning appearances in the league's All-NBA, All-Star, and All-Defensive teams. The Los Angeles Lakers became true championship contenders under Bryant and O'Neal, who formed a legendary center-guard combination. Jackson utilized the triangle offense he used to win six championships with the Chicago Bulls, which would help both Bryant and O'Neal rise to the elite class of the NBA.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1998
    Age 19
    The 1998–99 season marked Bryant's emergence as a premier guard in the league.
    More Details Hide Details With starting guards Van Exel and Jones traded, Bryant started every game for the lockout-shortened 50-game season. During the season, Bryant signed a 6-year contract extension worth $70 million. This kept him with the Lakers until the end of the 2003–04 season. Even at an early stage of his career, sportswriters were comparing his skills to those of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. The playoff results, however, were no better, as the Lakers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals.
  • 1997
    Age 18
    During the All-Star weekend, Bryant participated in the Rookie Challenge and won the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest, becoming the youngest dunk champion ever at the age of 18.
    More Details Hide Details Bryant's performance throughout the year earned him a spot on the NBA All Rookie second team with fellow bench teammate Travis Knight. The Lakers advanced to the Western Conference semifinals in the playoffs against the Utah Jazz, when Bryant was pressed into a lead role at the end of Game 5. Byron Scott missed the game with a sprained wrist, Robert Horry was ejected for fighting with the Utah's Jeff Hornacek, and Shaquille O'Neal fouled out with 1:46 remaining in the fourth quarter. Bryant shot four air balls at the end of the game; the Jazz won 98–93 in overtime to eliminate the Lakers 4–1. He first whiffed a game-winning 2-point jump shot in the fourth quarter, and then misfired three three-point field goals in overtime, including two tying shots in the final minute. O'Neal commented that "Bryant was the only guy who had the guts at the time to take shots like that."
  • 1996
    Age 17
    As a rookie in 1996–97, Bryant mostly came off the bench behind guards Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel.
    More Details Hide Details At the time he became the youngest player ever to play in an NBA game (18 years, 72 days; a record since broken by Jermaine O'Neal and former teammate Andrew Bynum), and also became the youngest NBA starter ever (18 years, 158 days). Initially, Bryant played limited minutes, but as the season continued, he began to see some more playing time. By the end of the season, he averaged 15.5 minutes a game.
    On July 1, 1996, West traded his starting center, Vlade Divac, to the Hornets in exchange for Bryant's draft rights.
    More Details Hide Details Since he was still 17 at the time of the draft, his parents had to cosign his contract with the Lakers until he was able to sign his own when he turned 18 before the season began. Bryant debuted in the Summer Pro League in Long Beach, California, scoring 25 points in front of a standing-room-only crowd. Defenders struggled to get in front of him, and his performance excited West and Lakers coach Del Harris. He scored 36 points in the finale, and finished with averages of 24.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in four game.
    The first guard to ever be taken out of high school, Bryant was chosen as the 13th overall draft pick by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996.
    More Details Hide Details According to Arn Tellem, Bryant's agent at the time, Bryant playing for the Charlotte Hornets was "an impossibility". However, Bill Branch, the Hornets' head scout at the time, said that the Hornets agreed to trade their draft selection to the Lakers before picking Bryant. The teams agreed to the trade the day before the draft and the Lakers told the Hornets whom to select five minutes before the pick was made. Branch said that prior to the trade agreement, the Hornets never even considered drafting Bryant. Prior to the draft, Bryant had worked out in Los Angeles, where he scrimmaged against former Lakers players Larry Drew and Michael Cooper and, according to then-Laker manager Jerry West, "marched over these people".
    In 1996, Bryant took R&B singer Brandy to his senior prom, though the two were, and remain, just friends.
    More Details Hide Details Ultimately, however, the 17-year-old Bryant made the decision to go directly into the NBA, only the sixth player in NBA history to do so. Bryant's news was met with a lot of publicity at a time when prep-to-pro NBA players were not very common (Garnett being the only exception in 20 years). His basketball skills and SAT score of 1080 would have ensured admission to any college he chose, but he did not officially visit any campuses. In 2012, Bryant was honored as one of the 35 Greatest McDonald's All-Americans.
    He declared for the NBA draft upon graduation, and was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, who traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
  • 1995
    Age 16
    At Adidas ABCD camp, Bryant earned the 1995 senior MVP award, while playing alongside future NBA teammate Lamar Odom.
    More Details Hide Details While in high school, then 76ers coach John Lucas invited Bryant to work out and scrimmage with the team, where he played one-on-one with Jerry Stackhouse. In his senior year of high school, Bryant led the Aces to their first state championship in 53 years. During the run, he averaged 30.8 points, 12 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4. steals, and 3.8 blocked shots in leading the Aces to a 31–3 record. Bryant ended his high school career as Southeastern Pennsylvania's all-time leading scorer at 2,883 points, surpassing both Wilt Chamberlain and Lionel Simmons. Bryant received several awards for his performance his senior year including being named Naismith High School Player of the Year, Gatorade Men's National Basketball Player of the Year, a McDonald's All-American, and a USA Today All-USA First Team player. Bryant's varsity coach, Greg Downer, commented that he was "a complete player who dominates" and praised his work ethic, even as the team's top player.
    Duke, Michigan, North Carolina and Villanova were at the top of his list; however, when Kevin Garnett went in the first round of the 1995 NBA draft, he began considering going directly to the pros.
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  • 1991
    Age 12
    Upon Joe Bryant's retirement from playing basketball in 1991, the Bryant family moved back to the United States.
    More Details Hide Details Bryant earned national recognition during a spectacular high school career at Lower Merion High School located in Ardmore, in the Philadelphia suburb of Lower Merion. As a freshman, he played for the varsity basketball team. He became the first freshman in decades to start for Lower Merion's varsity team, but the team finished with a 4–20 record. The following three years, the Aces compiled a 77–13 record, with Bryant playing all five positions. During his junior year, he averaged 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists and was named Pennsylvania Player of the Year, attracting attention from college recruiters in the process.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1978
    Born
    Born on August 23, 1978.
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