Today is one of the saddest days for basketball fans across the world.
One of the greatest basketball players of all time, Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash today. And while this loss cannot be compensated for or forgotten, let us remember that Bryant’s legacy will always be alive.
The pain of losing this legend is devastating; however, we must today celebrate this great player for what he was.
Here is a summary of the inspiring life of Kobe Bryant.
Born on 23rd August 1978 in Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant began playing basketball from the age of three. He grew up in Italy because his father, Joe Bryant, who also played for the NBA moved to Italy to play for the Italian Basketball League. Bryant was six when he moved to Italy, and he became fluent in speaking Italian.
He began playing for the NBA soon after he graduated from high school and was chosen by The Charlotte Hornets. Soon after, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers and became the second youngest NBA player in history when the season of 1996-97 opened. He stayed on with the club for 20 years before he retired in 2016.
He won five NBA Championships with the LA Lakers, including three consecutive titles from 2000 to 2002 under the tutelage of coach Phil Jackson and his teammate Shaquille O’Neal. He also won the 2008 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award. He also played on the United States Olympics teams in 2008 and 2012, winning consecutive gold medals.
He was the all-time leading scorer for Lakers and was the first player in NBA history to have atleast 30,000 career points. Both the numbers that he wore – 8 and 24 – have been retired by Lakers.
He was also one of the highest-paid NBA players ever, with a career salary of around $323 million. He also had lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, Lenovo, McDonalds, Sprite, and Hublot.
Bryant married Vanessa Laine in April 2001 and the couple have four children.
Business ventures and life post retirement…
In 2013, Bryant started the Kobe Inc. to take control of all his business ventures. Post his retirement, he came to be known as a sharp businessman, investor, and a philanthropist. He also mentored a host of NBA stars such as Jayson Tatum, Kawhi Leonard, and Russell Westbrook.
After he retired from the NBA in 2016, he kicked off a production company called Kobe Studios, which was, subsequently, rebranded as Granity Studios. In 2017, his animated short film, ‘Dear Basketball’ won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film!
He also published a book ‘The Mamba Mentality: How I play’ in October 2018, which looks at his career with a host of photographs
Let us always remember and celebrate the achievements of this incredible player! RIP Kobe Bryant.