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  • Writer's pictureTanner Werling

Legends Never Die: The Story of Kobe Bryant

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Born on August 23rd,1978 was Kobe Bean Bryant. He was the youngest of 3 siblings, his father was Joe Bryant and his mother Pamela Cox Bryant. Joe was playing for the 76ers at the time. As a young kid Kobe grew up Catholic, he was the son of an NBA player and yet he did not know people would know him as the Black Mamba. When Kobe was 6, Joe retired from the NBA and their family all moved to Rieti which is a city in Italy, where Kobe became fluent in Italian. They ended up moving south to Reggio Emilia where Kobe had his best childhood memories. Now tracking back, Kobe began playing basketball at age 3 and his favorite NBA team growing up was the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe’s grandfather would often send him videos of the NBA for him to study. Also as a young kid Kobe loved playing soccer and his favorite club was A.C. Milan which is a major club in Italy. During the summer he would travel back to the states to play in summer basketball leagues.

Kobe ended up moving back to Philadelphia where he played basketball at Lower Merion High School. He played on the varsity basketball team for all 4 years of high school. Through the years he grew as a player, playing every position in high school. Although he had all this attention from the media and schools trying to persuade him to come to their school, he was also a legend in the classroom. He achieved a score of 1080 on the SAT and really could of went anywhere to school but Kobe ending up going straight to the NBA from High School.

Kobe was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1996 draft but then Lakers GM Jerry West traded for him and acquired him. Kobe wouldn’t know that he would come to be the greatest Laker in history. His rookie season he went on to become the youngest player to play in a game at 18 and was named on to the all-rookie 2nd team, he averaged about 8 pts. Fast forward to his 4th NBA season, Phill Jackson was hired as the Lakers coach. He was known in the past, leading the Bulls alongside MJ to 6 NBA title., Kobe learned and got even greater under Jackson as a player. Tracking back to his rookie season the Lakers also traded for another player named Shaquille O’Neal where the Lakers won three straight NBA titles. They would become one of the most dominant duos in NBA history. Within those 3 years, Kobe averaged about 25 points per game. Even though Kobe won three titles within those years, he ended up finding his Soulmate, Vanessa Laine, they married in 2001. Kobe and Vanessa had their first Child in 2003 and named her Natalia. In 2005 they had their 2nd child and named her Gianna.

Now going back to the 06-07 season, Kobe would average 32.8 ppg which is his Career-high and also scored 81 pts in a game that season which ranks 2nd highest in a game only behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 pt game. Now fast forward to 2008 where he led the Lakers to an NBA Finals appearance against a Lakers rival the Boston Celtics. The Lakers ended up losing the series in 6 games but the very next season Kobe led the Lakers yet again to the NBA Finals. The Lakers ended up facing and defeating the Orlando Magic in 5 games. He was named Finals MVP and averaged 32 pts a game. Next year yet again Kobe lead the Lakers to the NBA Finals where faced a former foe the Celtics. He ended up getting his revenge and the Lakers won back to back championships. Kobe was again named Finals MVP.

He then began to chase for his 6th NBA title but unfortunately never got there. In 2013 he suffered his first career major setback where he tore his Achilles tendon, he still shot both free throws making both. He missed the rest of the season, over the next 2 years the injuries began to pile up. Now into the 2015-2016 season, he announced it would be his final season in the NBA. He was named to the all-star team and was celebrated in it, being his 18th selection.

On April 13th he played his final NBA game, the Lakers court showed number 8 and 24, showing their respect to him. He ended up scoring 60 pts and was the oldest to ever achieve this accomplishment at 37 years old! He ended up speaking to the fans after and said, “mamba out” as he left the floor. Kobe ended up playing all 20 seasons with the Lakers. He won 5 NBA titles, was named to 18 all-star games and named 11 times on the all NBA first team. He was also an Olympic Gold Medalist 2 times in his basketball career.

After his career, he began coaching and growing closer to his family especially his children. He coached Gianna, where she became a similar figure of him at a young age and wanted to be just like her father. Vanessa and Kobe ended up having 4 children together. Outside of basketball Kobe also won an Oscar with his short-film in 2018 named Dear Basketball and was the first former athlete to be nominated for an academy award. Kobe also was involved in many organizations outside the league rather that was body armor, meeting thousands of kids through Make-a-wish foundation and also founded a business with Jeff Stibel and was named Bryant-Stibel where he continued to inspire. The business was to help small firms trying to become bigger and better firms. Also in 2018 Kobe wrote a book about his life in basketball and growing on how to become a better player and person.

Now on November 28th, 2019, he wrote on his social media that he took his family to Disneyland and remarked on that day where he met his soulmate of 20 years, Vanessa Laine Bryant. Later little did they know on January 26th, 2020, there was a Helicopter Accident involving Kobe, his daughter Gianna,13, and 7 others. The helicopter crash left no survivors. Kobe was 41 years young. Around the league and in sports Kobe was recognized where all NBA teams held a moment of silence for 24 seconds remarking his number that he wore half of his career. Although Kobe is gone he has inspired the world, whether that be on a basketball court, spending time with his family or just saying hello to his fans. Kobe will be remembered and never forgotten. Legends Never Die.

In memoriam of Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan.

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