Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the United States, to former National Basketball Association (N.B.A.) star, Joe Bryant, and his wife, Pamela Cox. He spent his entire two-decade-old career with the Los Angeles Lakers and is widely recognized as one of the best basketball players of all time. He won several accolades; he had five N.B.A. titles, was an 18-time All-Star, a 15-time All-N.B.A. Team member, a 12-time All-Defensive Team member, the 2008 N.B.A. Most Valuable Player, and a two-time N.B.A. Finals M.V.P. He was married to Vanessa Laine and had four daughters. Unfortunately, he died in a helicopter crash in 2020, along with his daughter, Gianna.
Kobe Bean Bryant was born in Philadelphia, U.S., and was the youngest of three children and the only son of Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant. He was the maternal nephew of the N.B.A. player, John Chubby Cox. His father was also a former N.B.A. player. When he was six, his father moved to Italy to play professional basketball, after taking retirement from the N.B.A. Bryant returned to the States in the summers to play in a basketball summer league. He eventually returned to Philadelphia when he was 13 and enrolled in eighth grade at Bala Cynwyd Middle School.
He attended high school in Pennsylvania, where he played varsity basketball. He was the first freshman in decades to start on the varsity team as a freshman. He played all five positions for the Aces over the next three years, compiling a 77–13 record. He averaged 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 3.8 blocks, and 2.3 steals as a junior. With 2,883 points, he surpassed Wilt Chamberlain and Lionel Simmons as Southeastern Pennsylvania’s all-time leading scorers. He was 17 then and decided to enter the N.B.A. directly in 1996, becoming only the sixth player in N.B.A. history to do so. He was named one of the ‘35 Greatest McDonald’s All-Americans’ in 2012 for his high school play as well as his later achievements.
He signed a three-year rookie contract with the Lakers worth $3.5 million before the 1996-97 season. As a rookie, he was the second-youngest player ever to play in an N.B.A. game when he was 18 years and 72 days old. In 1998–99, he became the youngest N.B.A. All-Star starter in N.B.A. history. He broke Chamberlain’s 49-year-old record for most 40-point games in 2005–06. His jersey became the top-selling N.B.A. jersey in the U.S. and China during the 2006–07 season. In 2007, at 29, he became the youngest player (122 days) to reach 20,000 points. He created history in 2013 by becoming the first N.B.A. player to record 47 points, eight rebounds, five assists, four blocks, and three steals in a single game. He left the N.B.A. after the 2015–16 season. In 2020, he died in a helicopter crash along with eight others, including his little daughter.
The Charlotte Hornets select him and later trade him to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Vlade Divac.
He participates in the Rookie Challenge and wins the Slam Dunk Contest, to become the youngest dunk champion at 18.
He sets a career-high with 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in January, which is the league's second-highest point total in a single game.
At the Summer Olympics in London, he wins his final gold medal, becoming an aging star at 33.
He publishes a poem, ‘Dear Basketball,’ in "The Players Tribune" in November, to announce his retirement at the end of the season.
He creates an animated short film based on his poem, which wins the Oscar for ‘Best Animated Short Film’ at the 90th Academy Awards.
Why We Love Kobe Bryant
He was passionate
He was a true basketball player, and when other guys were going to strip joints, he was at the gym studying the superstars. His dedication to the game took him to legendary heights.
He was helpful
He served as the After-School All-Stars (ASAS) official representative and provided children in thirteen American cities with comprehensive after-school programs. He also established the Kobe Bryant China Fund, a charity in collaboration with the Soong Ching Ling Foundation.
He was a great father
He adored his daughters and was a fantastic father. When other players were consumed by fame and fortune, he took his girls to games and spent time with them.
5 Surprising Facts
He sued an entire city
He sued the Japanese city of Kobe for trademark rights to his name.
He made some songs
He released a single with Sony Entertainment, wherein he rapped about his love for basketball, beats, and broads.
He was fluent in Italian
He became fluent in Italian after spending several years as a child in Italy.
He played soccer
He learned to play soccer at a local park in Italy, first as a goalie and subsequently as a midfielder.
He had five N.B.A. titles
He had five N.B.A. championships to his name; only Derek Fisher, Michael Cooper, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Magic Johnson have more rings than the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant FAQs
How did Kobe Bryant change the world?
He was friendly with many of the game’s finest players and passed on his knowledge to the next generation of superstars. He also became a leader in the growth and development of women’s basketball.
How did Kobe Bryant help the community?
His family foundation donated to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. He became a $1 million or more milestone donor and tweeted on the museum’s opening day.
Is there a Kobe Bryant documentary?
He became a basketball legend and is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time. There are five documentaries about him and his many accomplishments.
Kobe Bryant’s birthday dates