Kobe Byrant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, PA. He was born to his mother Pam Byrant and his father, Joe Bryant. Kobe followed after his father, Joe Bryant, who was also a pro basketball player.
Growing up Byrant was an athletic young man. He played both basketball and soccer; however, he went on to stick with basketball. Because his dad took his career overseas, Kobe grew up partially in Italy. He was fluent in six different languages, including Italian.
The family came back to the United States in 1991, where they lived in Philadelphia. Kobe attended Lower Merion High School, and he joined the basketball team. Throughout his years there he led his team to the state championship four times in a row. Although he was only in high school, he would work out with the local NBA team, The 76ers.
Straight out of high school Byrant went on to the NBA. He was chosen by the Charlotte Hornets, but was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. He spent his entire career in the NBA using his talents for the Lakers.
At just 19 years old Kobe was nominated to be a starter in the All-Star game, allowing him to become the youngest All-Star in NBA history. On and off the court he kept himself busy. Byrant landed multi-year endorsements with Adidas and Sprite. In 2008, he was voted MVP and carried his team to finals against the Celtics.
Although Byrant was usually a strong and healthy player, in 2013 he suffered a torn Achilles tendon and he had to work hard to be able to return to the court healthily. He did, coming back into the NBA to struggle against his younger teammates. In 2015, he announced his decision to retire. “My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind but my body knows its time to say goodbye” said Byrant.
On April 13, 2016, there was his sold-out last game located at the staples center. During the last game of his career, Kobe scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz. This was not only a good game for him, but added on to be the sixth 60 point game of his career. Student Alexis Johnson stated, “I remember watching this game at home, and being so proud of the legacy he left behind.” Bryant had multiple championship rings, as well as two Olympic medals.
He was not only an NBA legend, but he also took to becoming a philanthropist. He partnered with the Afterschool All-Stars program, as well as running an annual summer camp named the Kobe Basketball Academy. He then created the Mamba Sports Academy, after his Mamba mentality effort. Student Sydney Williams stated, ” Kobe was such a giving man, I aspire to be just like him.”
Mr. Bryant married the love of his life, Vanessa Laine, in April 2001. The two lovebirds created four beautiful daughters: Natalia, Gianna, Maria, and Capri. On his off time, he valued quality time with his family. He loved to perform different simple tasks such as picking the children up from school because he missed a lot of those things while he traveled with the Lakers.
On January 26, 2020, Bryant was on board a helicopter that crashed along with his 13- year old daughter, Gianna, and other family friends. Unfortunately, there were no survivors to come from this tragic accident. The helicopter was on its way to the Mamba Sports Academy, where Mr. Byrant was scheduled to host a tournament game. “ They were beautiful blessings taken from us too soon” stated Byrant’s wife Vanessa. Although his life was taken away, his Mamba Mentality will live on forever.
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