Kobe Bryant: The Legend of the Heir Apparent

Kobe “Bean” Bryant was born August 23, 1978.  He was 6’6″ tall and weighed 212 pounds in his playing days. He was a lifelong player for the Los Angeles Lakers and entered the NBA directly from Lower Merion High School after his graduation at 17 years of age.  He turned 18 before the season began. Kobe’s father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant retired from the NBA in 1984 and moved his family to Italy where Kobe grew up.  Kobe was selected with the 13th pick of the 1st round by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996 and was immediately traded to the LA Lakers for Vlade Divac where he played his entire career becoming a household name.

The 1996 NBA draft class was stocked with studs including Marcus Camby, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, and one of my all-time favorites and enshrined Hall of Famer, Allen Iverson just to name a few.  Bryant was a shooting guard and at times could free float to the point and even played the three position.

Kobe Bryant’s career statistics and accolades:

  • 1996 PIAA State Championship
  • Five-time NBA champion (5x)
  • NBA finals MVP (2009 & 2010)
  • USA Olympic team (2008 & 2012)  2x Olympic gold medalist
  • NBA MVP  (2008)
  • 18 time All-Star
  • 15 time member of all NBA team
  • 12 time member of the all-defensive team
  • Lead the league in scoring two times (2x)
  • Ranked third on the league’s all-time regular-season scoring list and fourth on the all-time postseason scoring list
  • The NBA record for most seasons played with one franchise for his entire career
  • First guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons

For the first three of Bryant’s five NBA championships, he called Shaquille O’Neal his teammate.  When Shaq was asked what he thought about Kobe Bryant in a postgame interview he quoted, “Kobe Bryant is the best Laker of all-time. Kobe and I are the best big-little combination in LA Lakers history.”

He is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time to play the game of professional basketball in the NBA.  What impressed me most about Kobe what’s his competitive edge.  I will deep dive on this in another post but due to his aggressive competitive streak he was known as the “Black Mamba.”

Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest winners of the game has ever seen.  He worked so hard to perfect his craft by studying the game.  This is an excellent take away from his life and career. He was one of the greatest players to do it because he was passionate about developing his skills tirelessly day and night.  Many compare him to other NBA legends like Magic Johnson and even Michael “Air” Jordan as the greatest of all time.  I will dedicate another post to the debate of who is the G.O.A.T.

He wore jersey numbers 8 and 24 throughout the course of his career and both of his jerseys were retired and are now hanging in the rafters at the STAPLES Center.

 

For highlights of Kobe Bryant’s career check out this video – click here!

 

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