Kobe Bryant is an American basketball player, who plays as a shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Bryant played an important role in Lakers' three consecutive NBA title wins from 2000 to 2002, and two consecutive title wins in 2009 and 2010. In fact, he won the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in 2009 and 2010, after missing out on the same to Shaquille O'Neal in the previous three outings. Kobe Bryant was also a part of the United States national basketball team which won the Gold in men's basketball in 2008 Summer Olympics.
Kobe Bryant Biography
Kobe Bean Bryant was born on 23rd August, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the third child to Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant. Back then, Joe Bryant was the head coach of Los Angeles Sparks. Kobe started playing basketball at an early age of three years. He studied at the Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia. In 1995, he earned the Most Valuable Player Award at the Adidas ABCD Camp. His performance at the senior year of high school earned him laurels, such as Naismith High School Player of the Year and the USA Today All-USA First Team Player. A gifted player that he was, Kobe Bryant decided to go directly to NBA at the age of 17.
Career in NBA
In 1996, Kobe Bryant was chosen as a draft pick by Charlotte Hornets, and traded with Los Angeles Lakers. In 1996-97 season, Bryant played a significant role in Lakers' 56 wins. At the age of 17, he became the youngest player to play in NBA. A win at the Nestle Crunch Slam Dunk put the spotlight on him in 1997. In his second season, Bryant became the youngest NBA All-star starter in NBA. With the duo of Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal in full form, Lakers won the NBA Championship in a row for three straight years; 2000, 2001 and 2002.
For his astounding performance, Bryant was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the 2002 All-star game. In 2002-03 season, Bryant was at the all time high of his career with an average of 30 points per match. However, Lakers failed to make it four championships in a row, losing to San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs. In 2003-2004 season, Kobe Bryant became a free agent, which gave him the power of opting out of the team if he desired. However, he opted to stay with Lakers and signed a 7 year extension with them. Following the internal conflicts, Shaquille O'Neal was traded to Miami Heat, and Bryant acquired the top position in LA Lakers. The 2004-05 season proved to be a disastrous season for the team, as well as Bryant himself. Lakers failed to make it to the playoffs, while Bryant failed to make it to NBA All-Defensive team.
Kobe Bryant made his debut for the United States National Team in 2006. This team went on to win the FIBA Americas Championship in 2007, and the Olympic gold medal in 2008. Bryant made his ninth All-Star Game appearance on 18th February, 2007. By the end of the same year, he became the youngest player to reach the 20,000 point mark. In 2009, Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic to win the NBA Championship after a drought of five years. It was Bryant's fourth NBA Championship win after the three wins in a row between 2000-2002. The same year, Bryant got the first NBA Most Valuable Player Award of his career. The following year, he won his fifth NBA Championship and second NBA Finals MVP Award when Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics to win their sixteenth overall title.
Kobe Bryant married Vanessa Laine on 18th April, 2001, in Dana Point, California. The couple has two daughters; Natalia Diamante Bryant born on 19th January, 2003, and Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, born on 1st May, 2006. Throughout his career, Bryant endorsed major brands like Adidas, Coca Cola, McDonald's and Nintendo. One of the major brands endorsed by him was Nike's Hyperdunk shoes; his videos promoting this brand were viewed 4.5 million times each on YouTube. In 2010, Bryant made it to the third place in Forbes list of highest-paid athletes behind Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan.
Bryant however, had his share of controversies as well. In 2003, he was arrested on the charges of sexual assault filed by Katelyn Faber, a nineteen-year-old hotel employee. Bryant did admit that he had an adulterous sexual encounter with Faber, but denied the charges of sexual assault. Though the case was dropped the following year and both parties opted for a settlement in case of the civil lawsuit filed by Faber, Bryant's reputation as a star did receive a major dent. As the details of the trial went public, big brands, like the McDonald's, decided to terminate their contract with Bryant.
The considerably lengthy list Kobe Bryant's accomplishments, which includes awards like the NBA Most Valuable Player award, NBA Slam dunk Champion, NBA Champion, etc, gives a rough idea of his prominence on the basketball court. As you see in this biography, Kobe Bryant has made it big in the world of basketball in his career roughly spanning over a decade and a half.