Kobe Bean Bryant was an American professional basketball player. The five-time NBA champion is considered one of the greatest players in the history of basketball. On January 26, 2020, he died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
Kobe Bryant was born on Wednesday, August 23, 1978 (age 41 years; at the time of death) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He belonged to African-American ethnicity.  He was the son of Joseph Washington Bryant, who was also an American professional basketball player. Kobe started playing basketball at the age of 3.
He completed his high school at Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, an outlying district of Lower Merion. He earned state recognition at the mere age of 17 when he was drafted to play for Los Angeles Lakers. Thereafter, he played for Lakers in his 20-year long NBA career. He also won two gold medals in the years 2008 & 2012 Olympics representing the United States basketball team. “It carries a great honor. It goes above and beyond winning an NBA championship,” he said in an interview aired on NBA TV in February 2019. On April 13, 2016, Kobe played the farewell game of his career against Utah Jazz in which he scored 60 points and won the game single-handedly for Los Angeles Lakers, the team which he was a part of since the start of his career in 1996.
Height: 6′ 6″ nba.com
Eye color: Black
Hair color: Black
Family & Wife
Kobe was born to Joseph Washington Bryant (father) and Pam Bryant (mother). He was the third child and the only son of his parents. Kobe Bryant was a Roman Catholic.  He had two elder sisters, Sharia Bryant and Shaya Bryant. In April 2001, Kobe tied the knot with then 18-year old model Vanessa Laine. Kobe was a father of three girls – Natalia(born in January 2003), Gianna(born in May 2006) and Bianka(born in December 2016). 13-year-old Gianna also passed away with Kobe Bryant in the helicopter crash.
Bryant enjoyed one of the greatest careers in NBA history. He was one of the most eminent and influencing faces in the history of basketball. He was a role model and an inspiration for people on and off the court. Kobe was a high school pro before getting drafted out of high school and traded to play for Los Angeles Lakers.
He was the league MVP in 2008 and a two-time NBA scoring champion and earned 15 All-NBA selections. By the NBA 1997-98 season, Bryant was an All-Star, which was only a piece of glory he would later accomplish 18 times in his career. After four years of his NBA career, and several playoffs disappointments, lakers eventually won the NBA title in 2000. On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant attained his career-best figures by scoring 81 points in a single game against the Toronto Raptors, therefore, placing him second (after Wilt Chamberlain who scored 100 points in a single game on March 2, 1962) on the list of players scoring highest points in a single game. In 2009, Bryant bagged his first Finals MVP title, and moreover, Los Angeles Lakers were NBA champs for another time. In 2010, it was the final NBA championship win for Lakers and Bryant. Kobe was a 4-time All-Star Game MVP, receiving the last of those honors in 2011. Kobe surpassed Michael Jordan, reaching No. 3 on the all-time scoring list on December 4, 2014. On April 13, 2016, Kobe played the farewell game of his career, against Utah Jazz in which he had scored 60 points and won the game single-handedly for Los Angeles Lakers.
Dear basketball (Oscar-winning American short film on Bryant’s life)
Dear basketball is a 2017 American short film which was written as well as narrated by Kobe Bryant himself. This movie was directed & animated by Glee Keane. It is based on a goodbye letter-cum-poetry Bryant wrote to ‘The Player’s Tribune’ (a media platform that provides first-person content written by athletes) announcing his retirement, which got published on November 30, 2015. The movie went on to win the ‘Best Animated Short Film’ award presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It was also awarded the “Annie Award” in the category of “Best Animated Short Subject” and the “Emmy Sports Award” for “Outstanding Post-Produced Graphic.” Design. Kobe Bryant also won an Oscar in the ‘animated short film’ category for his contributions to the short film. Kobe had the ambition to turn more writings to films, which he had revealed seven days prior to his death, in an interview given to USA TODAY Sports. After the demise of Kobe Bryant, the Academy award-winning movie has now been made available to the public for free on dearbasketball.com.
Awards & Honors
- Gold (2008 Beijing)
- Gold (2012 London)
Other Career Highlights
- Naismith Prep Player of the Year (1996)
- NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion (1997)
- NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1997)
- Five-time NBA champion (2000–2002, 2009, 2010)
- Two-time NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010)
- NBA Most Valuable Player (2008)
- Eighteen-time NBA All-Star (1998, 2000–2016)
- Four-time NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011)
- Eleven-time All-NBA First Team (2002–2004, 2006–2013)
- Two-time All-NBA Second Team (2000, 2001)
- Two-time All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2005)
- Nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team (2000, 2003, 2004, 2006–2011)
- Three-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2001, 2002, 2012)
- Two-time NBA scoring champion (2006, 2007)
- NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion (1997)
- NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1997)
After the tragic death of the fabled basketball superstar, Kobe will be enshrined and immortalized into the “Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2020.”
- ‘The Black Mamba’ Kobe Bryant was not involved in any contentious situations until July 2003, when he was alleged to have sexually assaulted a 19-year-old girl. The 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado indicted Kobe for raping her in the hotel room of ‘The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, 2205 Cordillera Way, Edwards, CO 81632, United States. Bryant, after denying for some days, admitted to mutually-agreed sexual intercourse with the girl, when the officers of Eagle County Sheriff told him, that they had conducted an exam that had provided conclusive evidence on Bryant’s sexual encounter with the girl. Prosecutors dropped the case before it was about to go to trial by referring to the plaintiff’s reluctance to testify. The lawsuit filed by the hotel employee was terminated with a full & final settlement with Bryant, and the terms of which are still unknown to the public. nytimes
- Another controversy broke out when Bryant was slapped with a $100,000 fine by the NBA for directing gay slur towards referee Bennie Adams. Bryant apologized later that day and delivered a statement saying “My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period.” “The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.”
The legendary saga of the NBA champ Kobe Bryant came to an end on January 26, 2020, around 10 am when a helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people crashed into a gloomy fog-covered hillside near Calabasas, California. According to the reports, the helicopter was heading to the northern Los Angeles suburbs from South Los Angeles and was flying at a low altitude above mountains, when the fatal crash took place. All nine people on the board lost their lives in the crash. Tributes and prayers from all parts of the world gushed as the fabled basketball star lost his life.
The remains of Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna have been laid to rest at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar, California. 
- Kobe had given himself a nickname The ‘Black Mamba’ to create an alter ego or alternative personality for himself in order to separate his identity on and off the court. It was after the sexual assault charges against him in 2003 critically tainted his image. cnn
- Kobe Bryant started to play basketball at the age of 3.
- Kobe moved to Italy at the age of 6, after his father Joe Bryant finished his career with the NBA in 1983.
- Kobe became the youngest player to star in an NBA all-star game hence, becoming the youngest all-star.
- Kobe made a debut in the US national team in the 2008 Olympics, wherein he clinched gold for his country.
- Kobe featured in a Taiwanese track called Tian Di Yi Dou.
- Kobe featured in a number of hip hop songs.
- Initially, Kobe was picked by hornets, but he never played for them as he was immediately traded to play for the Los Angeles Lakers in NBA season 1996-97.
- The great US athlete not only overpowered teams in the basketball court but also made a huge difference off the court. ‘The Kobe Bryant China Fund’, ‘The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation,’ ‘After-School All-Stars’ are names of some of the charity organizations he was connected with.
- Kobe was a multilingual person. He was well versed in English, Italian and Spanish.
- Kobe and his family attended Our Lady Queen of Angels, Newport Beach, California.
- Kobe released his book “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play” in 2018, subsequent to his official retirement from basketball. The book has been outselling since his demise.
References [ + ]