Kobe Bryant

Adam Hill

Early Years

Kobe Bean Bryant was born on August 23, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He moved over to Italy when he was a little kid and he said that made him a better basketball player. The following three years, Kobe led his team to a 77–13 record, with Bryant playing all five positions. During his junior year, he averaged 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists and was named Pennsylvania Player of the Year, attracting attention from college recruiters in the process. In his senior year of high school, Bryant led the Aces to their first state championship in 53 years during the run, he averaged 30.8 points, 12 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4.0 steals, and 3.8 blocked shots in leading the Aces to a 31–3 record. Bryant ended his high school career as Southeast Pennsylvania's all-time leading scorer at 2,883 points. He decided to skip college and jump straight into the pros. A lot of people questioned if he was ready to go to the pros with his skinny frame. And this pushed him to do even better in his career to prove all of these people wrong.

Fan Letter

Dear Kobe Bryant,

Thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for basketball. You showed people that it’s ok to miss 20 shots in a game and still continue to shoot. You accomplished a thing no player has come close to matching in the last few decades by scoring 81 points in a game. So many people held grudges against you for the reported rape charges you faced, but I ignored that. I knew that was off the court, and on the court there was no other player I watched the way I watched you play. I tried to master all of your patented moves, I also loved the way you played the game. You never gave up and if you made a mistake you would make up for it on the other side of the floor. You always made the game fun by your explosive dunks, deep threes, or sick blocks. You always played with an intensity that you just wanted to win no matter what, and I loved this. That is why when I play I try to play with the same amount of intensity that you played with. Thank you for playing the game and making me better.

Sincerely,

Adam

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Basketball Card: Kobe Bryant

GP: 1,346

GS:1,198

Minutes:36.1

FG%:.447

3P%: .329

FT%: .837

REB:5.2

AST: 4.7

BLK: .5

STL: 1.4

TO: 3

PTS: 25

Interview with Kobe

Q: What made you think that you were ready to jump straight into the pros?

A: I saw that Kevin Garnett went into the NBA and I felt that I was ready.

Q: How motivated were you when heard that many people doubted your ability to play at the NBA level?

A: It motivated me a lot because I wanted to make sure that they were really wrong in what they thought.

Q: How did moving to Italy at a young age help your basketball game?

A: It helped me with my jump shot and learning the fundamentals of the game like shooting form, footwork, defense, and other essentials to the game.

Q: How did you feel when Charlotte traded you as soon as you were drafted?

A: I felt motivated to prove that that move was a mistake and that I had to make them regret ever trading me.

Q: How did it make you feel to air ball 3 key shots in the playoffs early in your career?

A: I felt confident that I could make those shots they just weren't falling, and I felt like I was the only one willing to take those type of pressure shots. Sure I don't like to miss those type of shots, but I'm not going to kick myself in the foot about them though.

Q: How did it feel when you won 3 championships in a row/

A: It felt like I was on the top of the world and it felt great to know that you were the best team in the league for 3 consecutive years.

Q: How was your relationship with Shaq?

A: It wasn't the best at the time because I felt like you had to work to get the ball and if you didn't work you didn't get the ball. Also we had differences on who was the star and who was the "sidekick" of the team. But now we have patched everything up now and have a really good relationship with each other.

Q: What were those years like when y'all didn't win many games and weren't in contention to win a lot?

A: They were some pretty tough times because I felt like I was physically in my prime and I was putting up spectacular games night after night. But the rest of the team wasn't that great so we continued to lose games and I didn't like that.

Q: Where did your nickname " The Black Mamba" come from?

A: I feel like that when I'm on the court I'm a straight killer, and have that killer instinct that guys need to compete at a high level. And also the ability to strike with 99% accuracy at maximum speed, in rapid succession.

Q: Who did you use to watch play when you were a little kid?

A: I used to watch a lot of videos of Michael Jordan and that is where I got a lot of my moves from. They used to work all the time for him so I thought to implement some of his moves to my game.

Thank you Kobe for this interview.

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Off The Court Issues

In the summer of 2003, the sheriff's office of Eagle, Colorado arrested Bryant in connection with an investigation of a sexual assault complaint filed by a 19-year-old hotel employee. Bryant had checked into The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Eagle County in advance of undergoing knee surgery nearby. The accuser stated that Bryant raped her in his hotel room the night before Bryant was to have the procedure. Bryant admitted to an adulterous sexual encounter with his accuser, but denied her sexual assault allegation. In his interview with police, Bryant also acknowledged a frequent adulterous sexual relationship with another woman named "Michelle" at the same time.The accusation tarnished Bryant's reputation, as the public's perception of Bryant plummeted, and his endorsement contracts with McDonald's and Nutella were terminated. Sales for Bryant's replica jersey fell significantly from their previous highs. However, in September 2004, the assault case was dropped by prosecutors after the accuser refused to testify in the trial.
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Personal Life

In November 1999, 21-year-old Bryant met 17-year-old Vanessa Laine while she was working as a background dancer on the Tha Eastsidaz music video "G'd Up". Bryant was in the building working on his musical debut. The two began dating and became engaged just six months later in May 2000.They married on April 18, 2001, the wedding was not attended by Bryant's parents, his two sisters, his longtime advisor and agent Arn Tellem, or his Laker teammates. Bryant's parents were opposed to the marriage for a number of reasons. Reportedly Bryant's parents had problems with him marrying so young, especially to a woman who was not African-American.On December 16, 2011, Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences, and the couple requested joint custody of their daughters. On January 11, 2013, Bryant and his wife both announced via social media that they had called off their divorce.
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Endorsements

Before starting the 96-97 season, Bryant signed a six-year contract with Adidas worth approximately $48 million. His first signature shoe was the Equipment KB 8.Bryant's other earlier endorsements included deals with The Coca-Cola Company to endorse their Sprite soft drink, appearing in advertisements for McDonald's, promoting Spalding's new NBA Infusion Ball, Upper Deck, Italian chocolate company Ferrero SPA's brand Nutella, Russell Corporation , and appearing on his own series of video games by Nintendo. Many companies like McDonald's and Ferrero SpA terminated his contracts when rape allegations against him became public. A notable exception was Nike, Inc., who had signed him to a five-year, $40–45 million contract just before the incident.



However, they refused to use his image or market a new shoe of his for the year, but eventually did start promoting Bryant once his image recovered 2 years later. Starting in 2009 he produced his 4th edition of his signature line by Nike, the Zoom Kobe IV. In 2010 Nike launched another shoe, Nike Zoom Kobe V. In 2009, Bryant signed a deal with Nubeo to market the "Black Mamba collection", a line of sports/luxury watches that range from $25,000 to $285,000. In 2013, Forbes listed Bryant the fifth highest paid sports star in the world behind Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James and Lionel Messi.
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Kobe's Legacy

With career averages of 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game,he is considered one of the most complete players in NBA history. He was the first player in NBA history to have at least 30,000 career points and 6,000 career assists, and is one of only four players with 25,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists. Bryant led the NBA during the 05-06 and 06-07 seasons. His 81-point performance against Toronto in 2006 was the second-highest in NBA history, behind only Chamberlain's 100. He has scored at least 50 points 24 times in his career, which is third in league history behind Jordan (31) and Chamberlain (118). Bryant was called "one of the greatest players in the history of our game" by many players. The New York Times wrote that he has had "one of the most decorated careers in the history of the sport." Reuters called him "arguably the best player of his generation", while both Sporting News and TNT named him their NBA player of the decade for the 2000s.In 2008 and again in 2016, ESPN ranked him the second greatest shooting guard of all-time after Jordan. Players including Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwayne Wade, and Derrick Rose have called Bryant their generation's version of Jordan. The Press- Enterprise described Bryant as "maybe the greatest Laker in the organization's history". He is the Lakers' all-time leading scorer, and his five titles are tied for the most in franchise history.
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