Kobe Bryant - All You Need To Know About The Legend
Kobe Bryant was the youngest of three children. He was born on August 23, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Many know him as one of the greatest basketball players the world has ever seen. His athletic genes seem to have been handed down to him in his cradle. He was the son of basketball player Joseph "Joe Jellybean" Bryant, who became famous through the Philadelphia 76ers, and through Pamela Cox, the former coach of the Los Angeles Sparks.
When Kobe was six years old, the family moved to Italy. His father continued his basketball career there. However, young Kobe himself returned to the USA again and again during the summer months. There, he played actively in the Basketball Summer League. One can clearly tell, that Kobe has held a basketball in his hands since a very young age.
But Kobe still found the connection in Italy. He was a big football fan of the AC Milan Football Team. He learned Italian and even Spanish. Nevertheless, Italy did not keep him for long. In 1992, the whole Bryant family moved back to the United States.
Kobe Bryant Becomes a Professional Basketball Player
This was also the place where Kobe Bryant's great basketball career was about to start. In high school, he played in all positions. He helped Lower Merion High School at Ardmore win 77 of 90 games. Adidas ABCD Camps named him MVP in 1995, after which he graduated from high school and immediately achieved a new record. With 2,883 points, he became the best player in Southeastern Pennsylvania. That Kobe would one day take over his father's legacy, was already pretty obvious to many. Coach John Lucas of the Philadelphia 76ers invited Kobe to a test training session.
The then 17-year-old "newcomer" had already collected more awards than he could imagine. So Kobe became quite a topic of conversation in the NBA as well. Many colleges became aware of him. But Kobe himself decided at the age of 17 to aim directly for the NBA Draft. In 1996, he was then the 13th pick of the Charlotte Hornets.
Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest legends the NBA has ever seen. The professional basketball player played as a shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996 to 2016. Through his playing, Kobe Bryant won a total of five NBA championships. But these are not the only achievements that the then 41-year-old could attain.
In the respective seasons from 1998 to 2013, Kobe was continuously voted into the selection of the best players. In 2008 he became the MVP of the regular season. Many basketball fans know that the NBA maintains a list of the most successful NBA players by points. A legend like Kobe Bryant would always find his place on the list. He had in fact scored a total of 33,643 points in his entire career. This huge success puts Bryant in fourth place. For comparison, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads the list with 38,387 points. Michael Jordan is in fifth place with a total of 32,292 points.
After more than 12 years, Kobe then played for the national team of the United States. The winning streak would continue there. He won the gold medal with the basketball team at the Olympic Summer Games in Beijing in 2008 and then again in London in 2012.
NBA Draft 1996
If you look at the NBA Drafts of the last few years, you might quickly notice that the 1996 NBA Draft is one of the best vintages of the NBA. MVPs like Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and Steve Nash were there. The same applies for NBA All-Stars Jermaine O'Neal, Ray Allen, and other basketball pros.
On June 26, 1996, a total of 58 players were selected from two rounds: 29 players in the first round and 29 players in the second. Kobe Bryant was selected as the 13th pick in the first round by the Charlotte Hornets. However, the Charlotte Hornets had already made a deal with the LA Lakers. The Lakers traded their Center Vlade Divac for 17-year-old Kobe Bryant on July 1, 1996.
Here's a fun fact (and we want to emphasize it again on purpose): the exceptional talent Kobe Bryant was only 17 years old when he joined the LA Lakers. His parents had to grant a permit and thus also sign the first NBA contract, because the shooting star was far too young at that time.
Kobe Bryant with Wife and Children
For the legend, basketball was not everything. His parents raised Kobe Catholic. And, he wanted his own family to be raised the same way one day. In 1999, the then 21-year-old met the then 17-year-old Vanessa Cornejo Ubrieta Laine. Kobe soon realized that she was the great love of his life. In April 2001, Kobe and Vanessa got married in California. But, apparently ,this wasn't supposed to be the big Hollywood wedding as you know it from the movies. Kobe's parents didn't approve of the marriage. They didn't approve of Vanessa's Latin-American descent. His father Joe Bryant even broke off relations with Kobe.
Kobe didn't let that affect him. The first child followed after only two years. Natalia Diamante Bryant was born on January 19, 2003. After that, Gianna Maria Bryant was born on May 1, 2006. Daughter Bianka was born on December 5, 2016 and Capri was then born in 2019.
Kobe Bryant's Sneaker Heritage
Kobe had been a member of the Nike family for many years. We owe numerous sneakers and colourways to the athlete. Many versions are created with invigorating colours. Most colourways borrow the shades from the LA Lakers. The iconic yellow/purple reminds of Kobe and his time with the Lakers.
Many people probably know the Grinch. We don't mean the sneaker, but the bad-tempered figure that wants to ruin everyone's Christmas. Kobe and Nike released a sneaker called the Grinch over nine years ago. The light green upper reminds of the character of Dr. Seuss, but the real inspiration comes from the green mamba.
That the sneakers are obviously inspired by the poisonous snake, nobody questions. This is because Kobe Bryant himself had the nickname "Black Mamba". The professional basketball player always embodied both precision and speed as an exemplary model. This was also often seen in his basketball games.
April 13, 2016 - Mamba Day
The so-called "Mamba Day" was launched by Nike in 2016 on April 13, 2016. That year Kobe Bryant played his last season. But, since he is a full-fledged member of the Nike family, the Beaverton-based brand wants to honour the basketball legend with a special day. Since then, April 13th is "Mamba Day" for Nike, and probably for many fans as well.
Of course, Nike is releasing a Kobe colourway just for this day. Everyone wants to have a shoe that reminds them of the last season. But, until today, only two signature sneakers from Kobe carry the mythical name, "Mamba Day". The Nike Kobe 11 Low "Mamba Day" was the first sneaker to introduce the famous name. The release date was, of course, on April 13, 2016.
Two years later, the Nike Kobe 1 Protro "Mamba Day" was released. Strangely enough, these sneakers debuted on August 24, 2018 and not on the regular Mamba Day.
The Death of Kobe Bryant
We see that the "Mamba" has influenced millions of people all over the world in the last decades. Kobe was not only a basketball player, but also a role model for many. Not only was he admirable on the field, but he was also a family man and thus embodies so many positive qualities. It is even worse to see how such role models have to go away through avoidable accidents. Many people will probably never forget January 26, 2020: the day of the infamous fatal helicopter crash. On that day, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Maria, and seven other inmates, lost their lives in Calabasas.
The reason was a dense fog. The fact that Kobe liked to use his helicopter even for short stretches is no secret. On that day, it would run rather differently. TMZ reports that the pilot often changed course, because the fog was way too dense. Then, the helicopter crashed into a mountain with a speed of approximately 300 km/h before it finally dropped to the ground. After two and a half weeks of rest, the family then announced that Kobe and Gianna were buried in Corona del Mar on February 7th.
The grief after the big news was huge. Family, friends, and fans all over the world gave their deepest sympathy to the family and relatives. For Kobe's best friend, LeBron James, it was probably the biggest shock of all time. James and Bryant have always been best friends. They always felt connected. They even referred to themselves as brothers. On Instagram, LeBron in fact calls Kobe a big brother.
Please give me the power from heaven and watch over me. I want to say so much more, but I can't right now because I can't do it! Until we meet again, my brother!! - LeBron James