Basketball fans around the world go crazy over the sensation that is Kobe Bryant. You don’t need to necessarily be a basketball fan to know this iconic name. Bryant plays for the Los Angeles Lakers as #24 and is said to be an outstanding man on and off the court. Although he retired in 2016, he is still known to be one of the best basketball players ever seen. He embodies grace and effortless skill, which is why he is credited with such honor. While you might be Kobe’s biggest fan, you may be surprised to hear some of this information. Keep reading to hear about how is a true masterpiece.
Philadelphia Born, Italian Raised
Kobe Bryant was born in Philadelphia but moved with his family to Italy at the age of 5. This came after his father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant (top middle) retired from the NBA and relocated overseas. They spent 9 years in Rieti, a small city in the middle of Italy. Just before it was time to begin high school, Kobe and his family returned to the US. When recollecting his basketball skills he says much of it is because he learned the game outside of America. He explained this further by saying that he learned basketball through fundamentals, while Americans stressed the importance of athleticism. This has been recently confirmed by other players.
Kobe is not only one of the best players in basketball history but he also speaks two languages. Since he grew up in Italy it makes sense that he became native to the language. Now 35 years later, he is coherent in Italian and English.
His Name Has Special Meaning
Kobe actually funnily got his name. His parents were locals at their favorite Japanese restaurant “Kobe,” which got its name from the Japanese meat, Kobe Beef. It turns out his parents were such huge fans that they named their son after the restaurant. He confirmed this in an interview in 1998 but said the restaurant may want the rights to his name if he says its true! He probably was not wrong about that.
Like Father, Like Son
Kobe is a legacy in the NBA because of his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant who was the 1st round, 14th overall pick in the 1975 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors. He had a career with the NBA for 8 years with teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers, the San Diego Clippers, and the Houston Rockets. When he retired he moved to play in Italy and then got involved in coaching and is now the leading coach of the Japanese team, “Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka”. The two used to play 1 on 1 and Kobe accounted on when his father would elbow him in the lip and rip it open until his mom had to intervene. It took Kobe until age 16 to finally beat his father.
Before Bryant made his debut in the basketball world, he attempted to create a rap career. He produced his own single called with Sony and the famous music video producer, Hype Williams. Unfortunately, it was too corny and received a lot of negative responses. While it was all a bit of a disaster, Kobe at least met the beautiful Vanessa Laine who eventually became his girlfriend.
Even though his own musical creations were not successful, Kobe managed to get an appearance in a music video to Destiny’s Child’s hit song “Bug a Boo,” 3 years after playing for the NBA. His role was to be himself, but a more confusing version when he set gaze on Beyonce.
He Took Brandy To Prom
Although Kobe wasn’t living the normal teenage life, he still attended prom during his senior year at Lower Merion High School in Philly. He was accompanied by actress and singer, Brandy Norwood, while she was starring in the sitcom Moesha. At this time, Kobe just began a partnership with Adidas before beginning the 1996 NBA draft. Brandy spoke publicly about the experience and how thankful she was to go to prom for the only time. They continued their relationship for a while and today are still good friends.
Welcome To The League
The overall consensus is that Kobe Bryant is one of the most skilled and accomplished NBA players. His career began when he was the first guard in history to draft right after high school. The LA Lakers were impressed by his raw talent and drafted him in 1996 when he was just 18. While he was surely under immense pressure being so young, but he rose to the occasion. Initially, it was difficult and he was finishing games with just 7.6 points and 15 minutes. Although this was not sufficient for Kobe. He was determined to improve his game and worked hard to do so during the off-season. When he came back for 1997-98 it was a complete transformation, with stats increasing to 15.4 points and 26 minutes per game.
His Number Was Taken
When Kobe began highschool he was number 24, but he finished with number 33. When he entered the NBA he was determined to return to number 33 but it was already reserved by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In 1989 this number retired with Kareem so Kobe went with number 8. These two became good friends and he was always a role model for Kobe.
The Baby Of The League
Kobe broke many records aside from being the first guard to draft out of high school. He was also the youngest player in the NBA being 18 years, 2 months, and 11 days old. His career was jumpstarted when he played against the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 3rd, 1996. He played for 6 minutes and had one rebound, one block, and one foul.
His #1 Pet Peeve
Everyone has that one thing that gets us going. It could be anything from people chewing loudly to getting in your bed with no socks, we all have our personal ticks. When we think of Kobe Bryant we imagine him as the infamous 6 ft 6 creature that is so abstract. Even this giant figure has irritations of his own and this one is at the top of his list. In an interview with Marc Ecko from Complex magazine, Bryant said his biggest pet peeve is dog feces and once ended up with a lawsuit against a former maid because of it.
He Was In A Famous Documentary
Kobe Bryant has not only been successful on the court but also in the acting world as well. He appeared in 2012 I Am Bruce Lee documentary, which honored Lee Jun-Fan, Bruce Lee. Kobe was also interested in martial arts and said that he was largely influenced by Bruce Lee. While many think that Bruce Lee is unrelated to basketball, Kobe was strongly motivated by the Chinese energy concept of Qi. Kobe tries to emulate Lee’s fighting technique into his own game on the court.
Kobe has a signature move where he frequently puts his game jersey in his mouth. Fans who watch Kobe have wondered why it is that he does this and is curious where it comes from. In an interview with the LA Times, he said that he actually got it from his father. His dad’s advice for the dry mouth was to put his jersey in his mouth and to suck up the sweat.
Hard Work & Nothing Less
Kobe is a devoted athlete who has worked for everything that he has achieved till now. He was also on the USA Olympic team in 2008 and 2012 and brought home gold medals. To train for the Olympic Games in 2012 he worked as hard he could to represent the US. He would wake up at the crack of dawn to train individually and then continue with his team. One time he didn’t stop until he made 800 shots.
A Laker, And Only A Laker
Kobe’s entire basketball career was spent on the LA Lakers. He is the only player in the league to never be traded and has also the longest record in the NBA of 20 seasons. He is tied with his idol Kareem Abdul-Jabar. However, Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, and Kevin Garnett pass him with 21 seasons.
Signature Sneaker Line
Along with his big-time basketball career and attempted musical career, Bryant also has a contract with Nike, where he established his shoe line. This shoe has a low top style despite many who preferred the high top look for style and safety. His shoes are very popular today and he has a long term partnership of 12 years with the establishment. His line earned $105 million in 2014 and he brings home $8 million every year for this deal.
All For Love
Kobe met his girlfriend Vaness during the musical stage of his life. Unfortunately, her school Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California got involved and made her continue her last year in homeschooling. They said that Kobe’s presence would be distracting.
When Kobe Bryant was 22 years old he proposed to his first love, 18-year-old Vanessa Laine. Unfortunately for these two, Bryant’s parents weren’t too thrilled about the marriage and did not come to the celebration. Despite having a demanding career, Kobe is an all-around family man and puts his daughters Natalia Diamante (15), Gianna Maria-Onore (12), and Bianka Bella(2) as his top priority. Kobe chose names with Italian roots because of his childhood spent in Italy.
Kobe has made front-page headlines on men’s magazine GQ various times. He even opened to the magazine when rumors were surfacing about his relationship issues with Vanessa. He admitted to the magazine that his marriage was not perfect, but he admitted that he works hard for things to go well, just like he does on the court. This is admirable of Kobe, and frankly what relationship is problem-free?
One Of The Greatest Of All Time
Kobe has so many well-deserved awards that make him one of the greatest players of all time. All of these awards consist of former MVP, five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, 18-time NBA All-Star, two-time scoring champion, two-time Olympic Gold medalist, nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team nominations, 11-time First Team All-NBA’er and a Slam Dunk title. In 2016 at the time of his retirement, he was seen as having the thirds most points in NBA history, with 33,643. Two of his numbers have now been retired.
Although his middle name is not printed on official documents, he does have one! His official name is Kobe bean Bryant. This middle name choice is inspired by his father who was nicknamed “Jellybean” in the NBA.
Kobe first met his wife Vanessa when he was 21 back in 1999 and she was 17. They dated for a short 6 months and were then engaged. Two years later at age 23, Kobe and Vanessa finally walked down the aisle.
As it turns out, Kobe’s family wasn’t too keen on his marriage. They opposed it entirely. They thought Kobe was too young to get married. Also, they didn’t like the fact that he was marrying a non-African American woman. His family didn’t attend his wedding at all.
Due to his impeccable speed, dexterity, and accuracy, Bryant was nicknamed “Black Mamba.” He nicknamed himself after watching Quentin Tarantino’s movie, Kill Bill, where “Black Mamba” was a code for a deathly endeavor.
Kobe wasn’t too focused on studying but he still managed to be a very intelligent student. He excelled in classes and on the SATs. Despite this, he chose a different one of basketballs and alley-oops. The 18-year-old was off to the NBA.
When Kobe played for the US in the Olympics in 2008 and 2012 alongside Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, and others, he made it his mission to go down in weight before the event.
On His Own
Kobe’s strategy to improve his skill is to play competing with his shadow. This way he can create new moves and techniques and increase his response time. Kobe is a strong believer that there is always new knowledge to gain.
Most Valuable Player
Kobe managed to win five titles throughout the 2000s but he received only one NBA Most Valuable Player award. This occurred in 2008 and was the only one he ever was given during his 20-year career.
In 2002 decided to leave his deal with Adidas and paid them $8 million to do so. This was all because he preferred a deal with Nike. He then went on to create his shoe line of low-top sneakers with Nike.
Poem Turned Film
Kobe is also quite creative! He wrote his poem called “Dear Basketball” in 2015 that went on two become the foundation for a short film in 2017. He narrated the film on his own and it won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
There is no stopping Bryant. Poems, songs, movies, and now a book deal! In 2018 Bryant published The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, which was his first novel. He wrote about his experiences and outlook on basketball.
Kobe spent 20 years with the NBA. He earned nearly $328 million from his NBA contracts alone. Now think about all the side projects he has had as well. In total, he probably has made about $680 million. Forbes said that only athletes that have ever surpassed him were from individual sports like Tiger Woods, Michael Schumacher, and Floyd Mayweather.
In the final game of his career, Kobe finished with 60 points. Overall he averaged 25 points per game and retired with this number, making him number 12 in basketball history. You go Black Mamba!
Call Of Duty
Kobe supported the Activision-founded nonprofit organization that assists veterans to get back to normal life post service. He was featured at an event with Zach Braff an event for the foundation, Call of Duty: Black Ops launch at the Santa Monica Airport. The two announced a donation of $1 million to the establishment.
There was a long time where were writers and supporters were under the assumption that Kobe was a selfish man who grew up alone. In reality, he was incredibly compassionate and a guy-girl, being the youngest sibling to two older sisters Sharia and Shaya.