Kobe Bryant was born August 23rd, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The
son of famed NBA star Joe "Jellybean" Bryant (of 76ers, Clippers and Rockets
fame), Kobe has two older sisters, Sharia and Shaya. If his given name
sounds familiar, it may be because he was named after a type of steak, which
was seen on a menu before his birth.
With the power to dunk, shoot and dribble in his genes, Kobe Bryant
attended Lower Merion High School, after having spent a part of his
childhood in Italy. While in high school, Bryant proved to be a star player
on the courts, and earned enough honors and triumphs to make up for his lack
of college basketball experience.
The senior voted USA Today and Parade magazine's National
High School Player of the Year not only led Kobe Bryant 's team to Class
AAAA state title, but he also broke records along the way. With an average
of 30.8 points, 12 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4.0 steals, 3.8 blocked shots per
game, and a total of 2,883 points, Kobe Bryant became the leading scorer in
Southeastern Pennsylvania history -- beating out previous records set by NBA
great Wilt Chamberlain and Carlin Warley.
A four-year starter, Kobe Bryant was recognized for his innate basketball
skills by being named Naismith Player of the Year, Gatorade Circle of
Champions High School Player of the Year, and became a McDonald's All-America
Going straight from high school to professional basketball (the only Los
Angeles player to have bypassed college), Kobe Bryant was picked 13th
overall by the Charlotte Hornets, in the first round of the 1996 NBA draft.
The Hornets then traded Kobe Bryant to the Lakers, in exchange for center
Vlade Divac. As the youngest NBA player to ever debut in the league at the
time (at 18 years old), Kobe Bryant set a new record at the 1997 Rookie Game,
with 31 points and 8 rebounds. Kobe Bryant also slam-dunked his way during
the 1997 NBA All-Star Weekend, by winning the Slam Dunk Championship.
During the 1998 All-Star Game, Kobe Bryant was voted a starter, making
him another history-making player, as the youngest All-Star player in the
NBA. During his third season, Kobe Bryant averaged almost 20 points per game,
underscoring his reputation as one of the team's -- and even the league's --
most electrifying, all-around players (we'll leave the slam-dunk honors to
As an all-around player, Kobe Bryant was the only player of his team to
start all 50 games of the 1998-1999 season.
The LA Lakers may have won the 2000, 2001 and 2002 NBA Finals thanks to a
team effort, but it's clear that Kobe Bryant stands in the tall shadows of
the Lakers' star player, Shaq.
Donning a #8 on his jersey, Kobe Bryant leads in almost every statistical
category of his team, and it's more than likely that the Lakers' second star
player will soon reach the top of his game, making history along the way.
Unfortunately for Kobe Bryantt, he is currently being accused of raping a
19-year-old hotel employee in Eagle, Colorado. Whether or not a trial will
ensue is up in the air, as are Kobe Bryant 's endorsements. One of his
biggest sponsors, Coca-Cola (the Sprite ads have been passed over to
has decided to terminate its contract with Kobe. But his wife of two years,
Vanessa Laine, is standing by his side (despite his affair), as are his