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Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant (retired)
Bryant at the 2019 ESPY Awards.
Personal inforamtion
Born:  August 23, 1978
 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died:  January 26, 2020 (aged 41)
 Calabasas, California
Listed height:  6 ft 6 in (2.03 m)
Listed weight:  212 lbs (97 kg)
Career information
High school:  Lowe Merion
 (Lower Merion, Pennsylvania)
NBA Draft:  1996 / Rnd: 1 / Pck: 13th
Position:  Shooting guard
Career history

Career highlights and awards

stats at
stats at
Basketball Hall of Fame

Kobe Bean Bryant (August 23, 1978 - January 26, 2020) was an American former professional basketball player.

As a shooting guard, Bryant entered the National Basketball Association (NBA) directly from high school, and played his entire 20-season professional career in the league with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant won many accolades: five NBA championships, 18-time All-Star, 4 All-Star MVPs, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team, 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), two-time Finals MVPs, and two Olympic gold medals. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he led the NBA in scoring during two seasons, ranks fourth on the league's all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring lists.

Bryant was the son of former NBA player Joe Bryant. He attended Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, where he was recognized as the top high-school basketball player in the country. Upon graduation, he declared for the 1996 NBA Draft and was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th overall pick; the Hornets then traded him to the Lakers. As a rookie, Bryant earned himself a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan favorite by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest, and he was named an All-Star by his second season. Despite a feud with teammate Shaquille O'Neal, the pair led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002. In 2003, Bryant was accused of sexual assault by a 19-year-old hotel clerk. Criminal charges were brought and then dropped after the accuser refused to testify, with a civil suit later settled out of court. Bryant denied the assault charge, but admitted to a sexual encounter and issued a public apology.

After the Lakers lost the 2004 NBA Finals, O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat and Bryant became the cornerstone of the Lakers. He led the NBA in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons. In 2006, he scored a career-high 81 points; the second most points scored in a single game in league history, behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962. Bryant led the team to two consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, and was named NBA Finals MVP on both occasions. He continued to be among the top players in the league through 2013, when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon at age 34. Although he recovered from that injury, he suffered season-ending injuries to his knee and shoulder, respectively, in the following two seasons. Citing his physical decline, Bryant retired after the 2015–16 season.

At 34 years and 104 days of age, Bryant became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points. He became the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history on February 1, 2010, surpassing Jerry West. Bryant was also the first guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons. His 18 All-Star designations are the second most all time, while it is the record for most consecutive appearances as a starter. Bryant's four All-Star MVP Awards are tied with Bob Pettit for the most in NBA history. He gave himself the nickname "Black Mamba" in the mid-2000s, and the epithet became widely adopted by the general public. At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won two gold medals as a member of the U.S. national team. In 2018, he won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his 2017 film Dear Basketball.

On January 26, 2020, Bryant died in a helicopter crash at age 41, along with his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven others, in Calabasas, California. A number of tributes and memorials were subsequently issued, including renaming the All-Star MVP Award in his honor.

Early life

Kobe Bryant is the youngest child and only son of Joe and Pam Bryant (they also have two daughters, Shaya and Sharia). His parents named him after the famous beef of Kobe, Japan, which they saw on a restaurant menu.[1]

When Bryant was six his father left the NBA and started playing professional basketball in Italy, where the whole family moved. Bryant acclimated to the lifestyle there and became fluent in Italian. At an early age, he learned to play soccer. He has said that if he had stayed in Italy, he would have tried to become a professional soccer player, and that his favorite team was AC Milan. At the age of 7, Bryant got his first leather basketball and it became his constant companion. He even slept with it.

In 1991, the Bryants moved back to the United States. A spectacular high school career at Lower Merion High School in the Philadelphia suburb of Lower Merion brought Bryant national recognition. While his SAT score of 1080[2] would have ensured his basketball scholarship to various top-tier colleges, the 17-year-old Bryant made the controversial decision to go directly to the NBA.

NBA career profile

1996 NBA Draft

Before he was chosen as the 13th overall draft pick by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996, the 17-year-old Bryant had made a lasting impression on then-Lakers general manager Jerry West, who immediately foresaw potential in Bryant's basketball ability during pre-draft workouts. He went on to state that Bryant's workout were one of the best he had seen. On his continued quest to return the Lakers to championship status, West startled spectators by offering and completing the trade for starting center Vlade Divac to the Hornets for the young Kobe Bryant.

First seasons with the Lakers

During his first season with the Lakers, Bryant mostly came off the bench behind guards Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel. Initially, he played limited minutes, but as the season continued, he began to see more playing time. He earned himself a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan-favorite by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest. He also set a record 31 points in the Schick Rookie Game, erasing Jones' record of 25.

In Bryant's second season (1997-98), he received more playing time and began showing more of his abilities as a talented young guard. He was the runner-up for the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award, and through fan voting, he also became the youngest NBA All-Star starter.

While his statistics were impressive for his age, he was still a young guard who lacked the experience to complement Shaquille O'Neal and significantly help the team contend for a championship.

Championship years

Kobe making 3 pointer

Kobe Bryant shooting over Reggie Miller during the 2000 NBA Finals.

However, Bryant's fortunes would soon change when Phil Jackson became coach for the Los Angeles Lakers. After years of steady improvement, Bryant had become one of the premier shooting guards in the league, a fact that was evidenced by his annual presence in the league's All-NBA, All-Star, and All-Defensive teams. The Los Angeles Lakers became perennial championship contenders under Bryant and O'Neal, who formed an outstanding center-guard combination. Their success gave the Lakers three consecutive NBA championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002 against Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, and New Jersey Nets, respectively.

End of a dynasty

In the 200203 NBA season, Bryant averaged 30 points per game and embarked on a historic scoring run, posting 40 or more points per game in nine consecutive games while averaging 40.6 in the entire month of February. In addition, he averaged 6.9 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 2.2 steals per game, all career highs up to that point. For the first time in his career Bryant was voted on to both--All-NBA and All-Defensive 1st teams. After finishing 50-32 in the regular season, the Lakers floundered in the playoffs; after defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves in six games in the First Round, they lost in the Western Conference Semi-finals to the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs in six games, ending their bid for a fourth consecutive championship.

In the following 2003–04 NBA season, the Lakers were able to acquire NBA legends Karl Malone and Gary Payton to make another push at the NBA Championship. With a starting lineup of four potential Hall of Fame players in Shaquille O'Neal, Malone, Payton, and Bryant, the Lakers were able to reach the NBA Finals and were the favorites to win the championship. In the Finals, however, they were defeated by the Detroit Pistons in 5 games, as the Pistons' defense stymied the Lakers' offense throughout the series. In that series, Bryant averaged 22.6 points per game, shooting 35.1% from the field, and 4.4 assists per game.

Conflicts and turmoil

Kobe Bryant - mug shot

Bryant, following his arrest in 2003

In 2003, Bryant's reputation was tainted by a sexual assault case in which Katelyn Faber, a young woman from Colorado, accused him of rape. With his image badly tarnished, the public's perception of Bryant plummeted, and his endorsement contracts with McDonald's, Nutella, and Ferrero SpA were terminated. Sales figures from NBA merchandisers indicated that sales of replicas of Bryant's jersey fell far off of their previous highs.

In 2004, a dispute between Bryant and former teammate Malone became public prior to Malone's expected re-signing with the Lakers. Bryant claimed Malone had made inappropriate comments to Bryant's wife. Malone claimed the comments were in jest and that Bryant was overreacting [1]. In the subsequent months, rather than re-join Bryant and the Lakers, Malone turned his attention to the possibility of joining another team, but ultimately decided to retire.

Unquestioned leader

When O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat, Bryant became leader of the team going into the 2004-05 season. As it turned out, however, his first season without O'Neal would prove to be a very forgettable one. With his reputation badly damaged from all that had happened over the previous year, Bryant was closely scrutinized and criticized during the season.

A particularly damaging salvo came from Phil Jackson in The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul. The book detailed the events of the Lakers' tumultuous 2003-04 season and has a number of criticisms of Bryant. In the book Jackson also calls Bryant "uncoachable."

Then, midway through the season, Rudy Tomjanovich suddenly resigned as Lakers coach, citing the recurrence of health problems and exhaustion. Without "Rudy T," stewardship of the remainder of the Lakers' season fell to career assistant coach Frank Hamblen. Despite the fact that Bryant was the league's second leading scorer at 27.6 points per game, the Lakers floundered and missed the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. This year signified a drop in Bryant's overall status in the NBA by not making the NBA All-Defensive Team and being demoted to All-NBA Third Team.

2005–06 season

The 2005-06 NBA season would mark a crossroads in Bryant's basketball career. Despite past differences with Bryant, Phil Jackson returned to coach the Lakers. Bryant endorsed the move, and by all appearances, the two men worked together well the second time around, leading the Lakers back into the playoffs. Bryant also resolved his conflict with former teammate Shaquille O'Neal. The team posted a 45-37 record, an eleven-game improvement over the previous season, and the entire squad seemed to be clicking.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Lakers played well enough to take a 3–1 series lead to come against second-seeded Phoenix Suns. Despite Bryant's remarkable game winning shot in Game 4, the Lakers squandered their series lead, and ultimately fell to the Suns in seven games. In the following offseason, Bryant had knee surgery, preventing him from participating in the 2006 FIBA World Championship tournament.

In many ways, the team's improvement in 2005–06 was often overshadowed by the individual scoring accomplishments posted by Bryant which resulted in the finest statistical season of his career. The season included many spectacular individual performances including a game on December 20th in which Bryant scored 62 points despite playing only three quarters against the Dallas Mavericks. Entering the fourth quarter Bryant had, by himself, outscored the entire Mavericks team 62–61, the only time a player has done this through three quarters since the advent of the 24-second shot clock. On January 22, Bryant scored 81 points,[3] in a 122–104 victory against the Toronto Raptors. In addition to breaking the previous franchise record of 71 set by Elgin Baylor, his point total in that game was the second highest in NBA history only to Wilt Chamberlain's legendary 100-point game in 1962.

Also in January, Bryant became the first player since 1964, and the only player aside from Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor, to score 45 points or more in four consecutive games. For the month of January, Bryant averaged 43.4 per game, the eighth highest single month scoring average in NBA history, and highest for any player other than Chamberlain. By the end of the season, Bryant had also set Lakers single-season franchise records for the most 40-point games (27) and most points scored (2,832), among others. Bryant won the league's scoring title for the first time, posting the highest scoring average (35.4) since Michael Jordan's 37.1 average in 1986–87. Bryant finished in fourth-place in the voting for the 2006 NBA Most Valuable Player Award, but also received 22 first place votes — second only to winner Steve Nash, and by far the highest number of first-place votes Bryant had ever received in his career.

Other notable events

  • When the Lakers faced the Miami Heat on January 16, 2006, Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal made headlines by engaging in handshakes and hugs before the game, signifying the end of the feud that had festered between the two players since O'Neal's acrimonious departure from Los Angeles. A month later, at the 2006 NBA All-Star Game, the two laughed and joked together on several occasions.
  • Late in the season, it was reported that Bryant would change his jersey number from 8 to 24 at the start of the 2006-07 NBA season. 24 was Bryant's first high school number, before he switched to 33.[4] After the Lakers' season ended, Bryant said on TNT that he wanted 24 as a rookie, but it was unavailable, as was 33, retired with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bryant wore 134 at the ABCD camp, and chose 8 by adding those numbers. He had also worn number 8 as a child in Italy.[5] He said the switch to 24 signified the start of the second half of his career.

2006–07 season

During the 2006–07 season, Bryant was selected to his ninth All-Star Game appearance, and on February 18, he logged 31 points, 6 assists, and 6 steals, earning his second career All-Star Game MVP trophy. Over the course of the season, Bryant became involved in a number of on-court incidents. On January 28 while attempting to draw contact on a potential game-winning jump shot, he flailed his arm, striking San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginóbili in the face with his elbow.[129] Following a league review, Bryant was suspended for the subsequent game at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks. The basis given for the suspension was that Bryant had performed an "unnatural motion" in swinging his arm backward. Later, on March 6, he seemed to repeat the motion, this time striking Minnesota Timberwolves guard Marko Jarić. On March 7, the NBA handed Bryant his second one-game suspension. In his first game back on March 9, he elbowed Kyle Korver in the face which was retroactively re-classified as a Type 1 flagrant foul.

On March 16, Bryant scored a season-high 65 points in a home game against the Portland Trail Blazers, which helped end the Lakers 7-game losing streak. This was the second-best scoring performance of his 11-year career.[132] The following game, Bryant recorded 50 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves,[133] after which he scored 60 points in a road win against the Memphis Grizzlies—becoming the second Laker to score three straight 50-plus point games, a feat not seen since Jordan last did it in 1987.[134] The only other Laker to do so was Baylor, who also scored 50+ in three consecutive contests in December 1962.[134] In the following day, in a game against the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, Bryant scored 50 points, making him the second player in NBA history to have four straight 50-point games behind Chamberlain, who achieved it twice with streaks of five and seven.[135] Bryant finished the year with a total of ten 50-plus point games, surpassed only by Chamberlain.[c] Bryant also won his second straight scoring title that season.[136] Throughout the 2006–07 season, his jersey became the top selling NBA jersey in the United States and China.[137] A number of journalists have attributed the improved sales to Bryant's new number, as well as his continuing All-Star performance on the court. In the 2007 NBA Playoffs, the Lakers were once again eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns, 4–1.

MVP season and Return to the Finals

On May 27, 2007, ESPN reported that Bryant stated that he wanted to be traded if Jerry West did not return to the team with full authority. Bryant later confirmed his desire for West's return to the franchise but denied stating that he would want to be traded if that did not take place. However, three days later, on Stephen A. Smith's radio program, Bryant expressed anger over a Lakers "insider" who claimed that Bryant was responsible for Shaquille O'Neal's departure from the team, and publicly stated, "I want to be traded." Three hours after making that statement, Bryant stated in another interview that after having a conversation with head coach Jackson, he had reconsidered his decision and backed off his trade request. Bryant was later shown in an infamous amateur video saying that center Andrew Bynum should have been traded for All-Star Jason Kidd.

On December 23, 2007, Bryant became the youngest player (29 years, 122 days) to reach 20,000 points, in a game against the New York Knicks, in Madison Square Garden, after scoring 39 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 8 assists. This record has since been broken by LeBron James. On March 28, Bryant scored a season-high 53 points to go with 10 rebounds in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Despite an injury to his shooting hand's small finger, described as "a complete tear of the radial collateral ligament, an avulsion fracture, and a volar plate injury at the MCP joint" that occurred in a game on February 5, 2008, Bryant played all 82 games of the regular season instead of opting for surgery. Regarding his injury, he stated, "I would prefer to delay any surgical procedure until after our Lakers season, and this summer's Olympic Games. But, this is an injury that myself [sic] and the Lakers' medical staff will just have to continue to monitor on a day-to-day basis." In early September 2008, Bryant decided not to have surgery to repair the injury.

Aided by the trade for All-Star Pau Gasol, Bryant led his team to a West-leading 57–25 record. The Lakers swept the Nuggets in the first round and on May 6, 2008, and Bryant was officially announced as the league MVP. He said, "It's been a long ride. I'm very proud to represent this organization, to represent this city." West, who was responsible for bringing Bryant to the Lakers, was on hand at the press conference to observe Bryant receive his MVP trophy from NBA commissioner David Stern. Stern stated, "Kobe deserved it. He's had just another great season. Doesn't surprise me one bit."[154] In addition to winning his MVP award, Bryant was the only unanimous selection to the All-NBA team on May 8, 2008, for the third straight season and sixth time in his career. He would then headline the NBA All-Defensive First Team with Kevin Garnett, receiving 52 points overall including 24 first-place nods, earning his eighth selection.

The Lakers concluded the 2007–08 regular season with a 57–25 record, finishing first in the Western Conference and setting up themselves for a first-round contest against the Nuggets. In Game 1, Bryant, who said he made himself a decoy through most of the game, scored 18 of his 32 points in the final eight minutes to keep Los Angeles safely ahead. That made Denver the first 50-win team to be swept out of the first round of the playoffs since the Memphis Grizzlies fell in four games to the San Antonio Spurs in 2004. In the first game of the next round, against the Jazz, Bryant scored 38 points as the Lakers beat the Jazz in Game 1. The Lakers won the next game as well, but dropped Games 3 and 4, even with Bryant putting up 33.5 points per game. The Lakers then won the next two games to win the semifinals. This set up a Western Conference Finals berth against the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers defeated the Spurs in five games, sending themselves to the NBA Finals, against the Boston Celtics. This marked the fifth time in Bryant's career, and the first time without O'Neal, that he made the NBA Finals. However, the Lakers would lose to the Celtics in six games, marking the franchise's ninth defeat to Boston in the NBA Finals.

Back-to-back NBA championships

In the 2008–09 season, the Lakers opened the campaign by winning their first seven games. Bryant led the team to tie the franchise record for most wins to start the season going 17–2, and by the middle of December they compiled a 21–3 record. He was selected to his eleventh consecutive All-Star Game as a starter, and was named the Western Conference Player of the Month for December and January in addition to being named Western Conference Player of the week three times. In a game against the Knicks on February 2, 2009, Bryant scored 61 points, setting a record for the most points scored at Madison Square Garden. During the 2009 NBA All-Star Game, Bryant tallied 27 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals was awarded All-Star Game co-MVP with former teammate O'Neal. The Lakers finished the regular season with the best record in the west (65–17). Bryant was runner-up in the MVP voting behind LeBron James, and was selected to the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team for the seventh time in his career.

In the playoffs, the Lakers defeated the Utah Jazz in five games and the Houston Rockets in seven games in the opening two rounds. By finishing off the Denver Nuggets in the Conference Finals in six games, the Lakers earned their second straight trip to the NBA Finals. The Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic in five games to win their 15th NBA championship. Bryant was awarded his first NBA Finals MVP trophy upon winning his fourth championship, achieving series averages of 32.4 points, 7.4 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.4 blocks. He became the first player since West in the 1969 NBA Finals to average at least 32.4 points and 7.4 assists for a finals series and the first since Michael Jordan to average 30 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists for a title-winning team in the finals.

During the 2009–10 season, Bryant made six game-winning shots including a buzzer-beating, one-legged 3-pointer against the Miami Heat on December 4, 2009. Bryant considered the shot one of the luckiest that he has made. A week later, Bryant suffered an avulsion fracture in his right index finger in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite the injury, Bryant elected to continue playing, rather than take any time off to rest the injury. Five days after his finger injury, he made another game-winning shot, after missing on an opportunity in regulation, this time against the Milwaukee Bucks in an overtime game. Bryant also became the youngest player (31 years, 151 days) to reach 25,000 points in his career during the season, surpassing Chamberlain. He continued his dominant clutch plays making yet another game-winning three-pointer against the Sacramento Kings,[178] and what would be the game-winning field goal against the Boston Celtics. The following day, he surpassed West to become the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. After being sidelined for five games by an ankle injury, Bryant made his return and made another clutch three-pointer to give the Lakers a one-point lead with four seconds remaining against the Memphis Grizzlies.Two weeks later, he made his sixth game-winning shot of the season, against the Toronto Raptors.

On April 2, 2010, Bryant signed a three-year contract extension worth $87 million. Bryant finished the regular season missing four of the final five games, due to injuries to his knee and finger. Bryant suffered multiple injuries throughout the season and as a result, missed nine games. The Lakers began the playoffs as the number one seed in the Western Conference against the Oklahoma City Thunder, eventually defeating them in six games. The Lakers swept the Utah Jazz in the second round and advanced to the Western Conference Finals, where they faced the Phoenix Suns. In Game 2, Bryant finished the game with 13 assists, setting a new playoff career-high; it was the most assists by a Laker in the playoffs since Magic Johnson had 13 in 1996. The Lakers went on to win the series in six games capturing the Western Conference Championship and advancing to the NBA Finals for a third straight season. In a rematch against the Boston Celtics, Bryant, despite shooting 6 for 24 from the field, led the Lakers back from a thirteen-point third-quarter deficit in Game 7 to win the championship; he scored 10 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 15 rebounds. Bryant won his fifth and final championship and earned his second consecutive NBA Finals MVP award and the Lakers won their 16th championship. This marked the first time that the Lakers won a Game 7 against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Bryant said that this was the most satisfying of all of his five championships.

Pursuing a sixth championship

Bryant wanted a sixth championship to match Jordan's total. The Lakers started the 2010–11 season by winning their first eight games. In his ninth game of the season, playing against the Denver Nuggets, Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 26,000 career points. Bryant also recorded his first triple-double since January 21, 2009. On January 30 against the Celtics, he became the youngest player to score 27,000 points. On February 1, 2011, Bryant became one of seven players with at least 25,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, and 5,000 assists. In Boston on February 10, Bryant scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half as the Lakers rallied from an early 15-point deficit for a 92–86 win over the Celtics. It was the Lakers' first victory of the season against one of the league's top four teams, as they entered the game 0–5 in previous matchups and had been outscored by an average of 11 points. Bryant, selected to his 13th straight All-Star game after becoming the leading vote-getter, had 37 points, 14 rebounds, and three steals in the 2011 All-Star Game and won his fourth All-Star MVP, tying Hall of Famer Bob Pettit for the most All-Star MVP awards. During the season, Bryant moved from 12th to 6th place on the NBA all-time career scoring list, passing John Havlicek, Dominique Wilkins, Oscar Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes, and Moses Malone. Bryant finished the season averaging less than 20 shots a game, his fewest since the 2003–04 season.

On April 13, 2011, the NBA fined Bryant $100,000 for directing a gay slur at referee Bennie Adams in frustration in the previous day's game. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation praised the NBA's decision to fine Bryant, and the Human Rights Campaign said that Bryant's language was a "disgrace" and "distasteful". Bryant stated that he was open to discussing the matter with gay rights groups and wanted to appeal his fine. He later apologized for the use of the word. Bryant and other Lakers appeared in a Lakers public service announcement denouncing his behavior. The team's quest for another three-peat was ended when they were swept by the eventual NBA champion Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs.

Bryant received experimental platelet-rich plasma therapy called Orthokine in Germany to treat the pain on his left knee and ankle, and Mike Brown replaced the retired Jackson as coach of the Lakers in the off-season. Bryant began the season playing with an injured wrist.[216] On January 10, 2012, Bryant scored 48 points against the Suns. "Not bad for the seventh-best player in the league", said Bryant, referring to a preseason ESPN ranking of the NBA's top players. He went on to score 40, 42, and 42 in his next three games.[218] It was the sixth time in his career he scored 40 or more points in four straight games, a feat exceeded only by Chamberlain (19 times). At the 2012 All-Star Game, Bryant scored 27 points to pass Jordan as the career scoring leader in the All-Star Game. He also suffered a broken nose and a concussion in the third quarter of the All-Star Game after a hard foul from Dwyane Wade. In April, Bryant missed seven games with a bruised left shin. He returned three games before the end of the regular season. In the last game of the regular season, against Sacramento, he chose not to go for a possible third NBA scoring title, having needed 38 points to surpass Kevin Durant. After defeating the Denver Nuggets in seven games in the first round of the playoffs, the Lakers were knocked out of the playoffs by Durant's eventual runner-ups Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round of the playoffs, losing in five games.

The Lakers in 2012–13 acquired center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash. On November 2, 2012, Bryant scored 40 points with two steals, and he passed Magic Johnson (1,724) as the Lakers career leader in steals. However, the Lakers lost the game to the Clippers and started the season 0–3 for the first time in 34 years and just the fourth time in franchise history. After starting the season 1–4, coach Brown was fired. He was replaced by Mike D'Antoni, who Bryant knew as a child when Bryant's father was playing in Italy and D'Antoni was also a star player there. Bryant had grown close with D'Antoni during their time with Team USA. On December 5 against New Orleans, Bryant became the youngest player (34 years and 104 days) in league history to score 30,000 points, joining Hall of Famers Chamberlain, Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Karl Malone as one of five players to reach that milestone. On December 18, in a 101–100 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, Bryant scored 30+ points in his seventh consecutive game, the longest streak by an NBA player after turning 34 years old; it was the fourth-longest such streak in his career. His streak would be snapped at 10 on December 28 in a 104–87 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, when he scored 27 points, sitting out the whole fourth quarter. In a move to improve the team's defense, D'Antoni began having Bryant guard the opponent's best perimeter player; Bryant was the primary defender on the Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving, who was held to 15 points. Bryant acknowledged he was a more focused defender when he had a challenging defensive assignment as opposed to when he played off the ball against weaker players. His defense disrupted opponents and freed Nash from unfavorable matchups.

Bryant was leading the league in scoring through much of the first 42 games. With a disappointing 17–25 start to the season, D'Antoni had Bryant became the primary facilitator on offense and Nash was moved off the ball and became more of a spot-up shooter. In the next three games, Bryant had at least 10 assists in three wins with a three-game total of 39 assists, the most in his career. He missed a triple-double in each game with nine rebounds twice and eight in the other. In two crucial wins in March, he scored at least 40 points and had at least 10 assists in back-to-back games, becoming the first Laker to accomplish the feat since West in 1970.

With the Lakers fighting to secure the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference, coupled with injuries on the team, Bryant began playing almost all 48 minutes each game. On April 10, 2013, Bryant became the first player in NBA history to get 47 points, eight rebounds, five assists, four blocks, and three steals in an NBA game. On April 12, Bryant suffered a torn Achilles tendon against the Golden State Warriors, ending his season. His injury came while he was playing seven consecutive quarters and at least 40 minutes for seven consecutive games. The 34-year-old Bryant was averaging his most minutes (38.6) in six years, and only Portland rookie Damian Lillard was averaging more minutes. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak had spoken to Bryant about his extensive playing time 10 days earlier, but Bryant insisted the minutes needed to continue given the Lakers' playoff push. Bryant had surgery on April 13 to repair the tear, and it was estimated he would miss six to nine months. He ended the season with his customary numbers scoring an average of 27.3 points, 46.3 percent shooting, 5.6 rebounds, and 6 assists. However, The New York Times called his leading of the Lakers back into playoff contention "perhaps some of the finest work of his career." Eight times he reached 40 points during the season, and eleven times he had 10 or more assists in his role as distributor, dubbed "Magic Mamba" after the passing skills of Magic Johnson. Bryant's assists were the second-highest of his career and his field goal percentage was its highest since 2008–09. The Lakers finished the season at 45–37, good for seventh in the West. Playing without Bryant, the Lakers were swept in four games by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs, and it began a period of futility for the Lakers.

Injury-plagued years

Bryant in a Wizards game in December 2014. Bryant resumed practicing in November 2013, after the 2013–14 season had already begun. On November 25, he signed a two-year contract extension with the Lakers at an estimated value of $48.5 million. He remained the league's highest-paid player, although he accepted a discounted deal; he had been eligible to receive an extension starting at $32 million per year. Bryant's contract became a polarizing topic, with detractors arguing that stars should take less money to allow their team more financial freedom, while supporters countered that the NBA's biggest stars were being paid less than their true value. Bryant resumed playing on December 8 after missing the season's first 19 games. On December 17, Bryant matched his season high of 21 points in a 96–92 win over Memphis, but he suffered a lateral tibial plateau fracture in his left knee that was expected to sideline him for six weeks. He had played six games since returning from his Achilles injury, which included time at point guard after injuries to Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar. Bryant was averaging 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.3 rebounds. Despite being sidelined, he was voted by fans to start in his 16th All-Star game. Bryant did not feel he was deserving of the selection, and some likened it to a career achievement award for his past performance. However, he missed playing in the game, still hampered by his knee. On March 12, 2014, the Lakers ruled Bryant out for the remainder of the season, citing his need for more rehab and the limited time remaining in the season. At the time, the team was 22–42 and tied for the worst record in the Western Conference. The Lakers finished 27–55 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

Bryant returned for the 2014–15 season, his 19th season with the Lakers, who had replaced D'Antoni with Bryant's former Lakers teammate, Byron Scott. On November 30, 2014, in a 129–122 overtime victory against the Toronto Raptors, Bryant recorded his 20th career triple-double with 31 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds. At age 36, he became the oldest NBA player to achieve 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in a game. On December 14, Bryant became the NBA's third all-time leading scorer, passing Jordan (32,292) in a 100–94 win against Minnesota. He played in the first 27 games of the season, averaging team-highs with 26.4 points and 35.4 minutes per game while leading the league with 22.4 shots per game. However, Scott held him out for three straight games to rest after one of his worst performances of the season, when Bryant committed nine turnovers and scored 25 points on just 8-for-30 shooting in a 108–101 loss to Sacramento. He was suffering from soreness in his knees, feet, back, and Achilles tendons and Scott planned to reduce his workload going forward. Three times Bryant had exceeded 40 minutes in a game, and the coach blamed himself for overloading him after he started the season in such great shape. For the season, Bryant had been shooting just 37 percent from the field, and the team's record was only 8–19. In his second game back after resting, he had 23 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds in a 111–103 win over Denver, and became just the third player in league history to record multiple triple-doubles in a season at age 36 or older.[e] On January 21, 2015, Bryant suffered a rotator cuff tear in his right shoulder while driving baseline for a two-handed dunk against the New Orleans Pelicans. Though he was right-handed, he returned to play in the game and ran the offense while shooting, dribbling, and passing almost exclusively with his left hand. Prior to the injury, Bryant had been rested in 8 of 16 games. He underwent season-ending surgery for the injury, finishing the season averaging 22.3 points, but shooting a career-low 37.3 percent, well below his 45.4 percent career mark to start the season. He was expected to be sidelined for nine months with a return targeted toward the start of the 2015–16 season. The Lakers finished the season with a record of 21–61, surpassing the franchise record for most losses in a season that they had set the previous year.

Final season

After recovering to play in the 2015–16 preseason, Bryant suffered a calf injury and missed the final two weeks of exhibition games. However, he played in the season opener to begin his 20th season with the Lakers, surpassing John Stockton's league record of 19 for the most seasons with the same team. On November 24, 2015, the Lakers fell to 2–12 after losing 111–77 to the defending champion Warriors. Bryant scored just four points in 25 minutes on 1-for-14 shooting, matching the worst-shooting game of his career in which he attempted at least five shots. On December 1, 2015, Bryant played his last game against his hometown team, the Philadelphia 76ers, where the Lakers lost 103–91.

On November 29, 2015, Bryant announced via The Players' Tribune that he would be retiring at the end of the season. In his poem titled "Dear Basketball", Bryant wrote that he fell in love with the game at age six; "A love so deep I gave you my all/From my mind & body/To my spirit & soul." The 2015–16 season "is all I have left to give./My heart can take the pounding/My mind can handle the grind/But my body knows it's time to say goodbye./And that's OK./I'm ready to let you go." In a letter distributed to Lakers' fans before that evening's game against the Indiana Pacers, Bryant wrote, "What you've done for me is far greater than anything I've done for you. ... My love for this city, this team and for each of you will never fade. Thank you for this incredible journey."

At the time of his announcement, he was second on the team in minutes (30.8) behind Jordan Clarkson and leading the team with 16.7 field goal attempts per game, while averaging just 15.7 points and shooting a career-low 31.5 percent. His free throw attempts had dropped from his career average, and his game had become over-reliant on pump fakes and long-range shots, making a league-worst 19.5 percent from three-point range while attempting seven a game, almost double his career average. In his press conference after the announcement, he acknowledged his declining skills. "Even though I play like shit, I've worked really, really hard not to play like crap and I do everything I possibly can. And I feel good about that", he said.

Bryant requested that opposing teams on the road not hold any on-court ceremonies in his honor or present him any gifts in public. Prior to announcing his retirement, he had been steadfast about not wanting the fuss of a staged farewell tour, preferring to hear boos instead of cheers. Still, he was honored around the league with video tributes and fan ovations, including arenas that historically jeered him such as Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, TD Garden in Boston, and Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. Previously, Bryant was respected, but not beloved, and he was astonished at the cheers that he was now receiving.

On February 3, 2016, Bryant made seven three-pointers and scored a then season-high 38 points, including 14 of the team's 18 points in the last 5:02 of the game, for a 119–115 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The win ended a 10-game losing streak, and the Lakers averted establishing the longest losing streak in franchise history. Bryant became just the fourth NBA player over 37 years old to log at least 35 points, five rebounds, and five assists in a game. Bryant was the leading overall vote-getter for the 2016 All-Star Game with 1.9 million votes, ahead of Stephen Curry's 1.6 million. Having moved to small forward that season, Bryant was selected as a frontcourt starter for the first time. Playing in his first All-Star game since 2013, Bryant had 10 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. West teammates offered to feed him the ball in an attempt to get him another All-Star MVP, but he declined.

In the season finale on April 13, 2016, Bryant scored an NBA season-high 60 points against the Utah Jazz in his last NBA game, outscoring the entire Jazz team 23–21 in the fourth quarter, in the Lakers' 101–96 victory. He became the oldest player to score 60 or more points in a game at 37 years and 234 days old. The Lakers finished the season with a 17–65 record, their worst record in franchise history.

Player profile

Kobe Bryant Free Throw

Kobe Bryant shoots a free throw.

Bryant primarily played as a shooting guard. He was listed at 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) and 212 pounds (96 kg), He was often cited as one of the most dangerous scorers in the NBA. Bryant has drawn frequent comparisons to Jordan, after whom he modeled his playing style. Like Jordan, he became most known for shooting a fall-away jump shot. Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated described another of Bryant's most famous moves as the "jab step-and-pause" in which Bryant jabbed his non-pivot foot forward to let the defender relax but instead of bringing the jab foot back, he pushed off of it and drove around his opponent to get to the basket.

Bryant established a reputation for taking shots in the closing moments of tight games, even when he was double or triple-teamed, and was noted as one of the premier closers in the NBA. In a 2012 annual survey of NBA general managers, Bryant was selected for the 10th consecutive season as the player general managers would want to take a clutch shot with a game on the line. Bryant enjoyed being the villain, and reveled in being booed and then silencing the crowd with his play. His ability to make difficult shots has also drawn criticism of his shot selection. Throughout his career, Bryant was disparaged for being a selfish, high-volume shooter; he missed more field goal attempts in his career than any other player in NBA history. Phil Jackson, who coached Bryant for many years, stated that Bryant "tends to force the action, especially when the game isn't going his way. When his shot is off, Kobe will pound away relentlessly until his luck turns." According to Bryant, "I would go 0 for 30 before I would go 0 for 9; 0 for 9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game."

In addition to his abilities on offense, Bryant also established himself as a standout defensive player. Bryant rarely drew charges when he played defense, which he believed spared his body and contributed to his longevity. Some critics have suggested that Bryant's defensive accolades in his later years were based more on his reputation than his actual play.

Bryant was also lauded for his relentless work ethic, dubbed the "Mamba mentality". Throughout his first 16 seasons, his body was resilient, and he exhibited a high pain threshold while often playing through injuries. A fierce competitor, Bryant made opponents and teammates alike the objects of his scorn. Many players have considered him difficult to play with because of his high level of commitment and performance. According to sportswriter Mark Heisler of Forbes, "circa 2004–2007, Kobe was the most alienated superstar the NBA had ever seen." After the departure of Shaquille O'Neal, he led the Lakers to two NBA championships; during this period, he became more of a mentor to his teammates than he had been earlier in his career. Bryant's longtime head coach Phil Jackson noted that the biggest difference between his first and second stints in coaching the Lakers was if Bryant talked to teammates in his earlier years with the Lakers, it was usually, "Give me the damn ball." During the latter period, "[Bryant] embraced the team and his teammates, calling them up when we were on the road and inviting them out to dinner. It was as if the other players were now his partners, not his personal spear-carriers."

Basketball legacy

Bryant was called "one of the greatest players in the history of our game" by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and The New York Times wrote that he 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, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose called Bryant their generation's version of Jordan. The Press-Enterprise described Bryant as "maybe the greatest Laker in the organization's history". He was the Lakers' all-time leading scorer, and his five titles are tied for the most in franchise history. Both numbers he wore during his career, 8 and 24, were retired by the Lakers on December 18, 2017.

With career averages of 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game, he was 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 was one of the only four players with 25,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, and 6,000 assists. Bryant led the NBA in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons. His 81-point performance against Toronto in 2006 was the second-highest in NBA history, behind only Chamberlain's 100. He scored at least 50 points 24 times in his career, which is third in league history behind Jordan (31) and Chamberlain (118); six times Bryant scored at least 60. He was just the third player in NBA history to average 40 points in a calendar month, which he accomplished four times. Bryant was voted the league MVP in 2008 and led his team to the 2008 Finals as the first seed in the Western Conference. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, he won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. men's basketball team, occasionally referred to as "The Redeem Team". He won another gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. He led the Lakers to two more championships in 2009 and 2010, winning the Finals MVP award on both occasions.

Bryant was an 18-time All-Star, which ranks second behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 19. He was chosen a record 18 straight times, each time as a starter. On four occasions (2003, 2011, 2013, 2016) he was the leading vote-getter. Four times Bryant was named the All-Star MVP, a record that he shares with Bob Pettit. He was selected to the All-NBA Team on 15 occasions, tied for the most with Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan, and his 11 first-team honors are tied for the second-most with Karl Malone. Bryant was also a 12-time All-Defensive Team selection, trailing only Duncan's 15, and nine times he was named to the All-Defensive First Team, tied with Jordan, Garnett, and Gary Payton for the most all time. He was the first guard to play 20 seasons in the NBA. He also won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1997 and was its youngest winner. In his career, Bryant scored 40-plus points in 121 games, and 21 times he recorded a triple-double.

Following his death, on February 15, 2020, commissioner Adam Silver announced that the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award would be renamed to the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award in honor of Bryant.

During the 2020 NBA playoffs, the Lakers' players wore 'Black Mamba' jerseys in honor of Bryant. Designed by Bryant himself, the black jersey features a snakeskin pattern with yellow accents and 16 stars representing the team's 16 championships at the time. In Game 2 win against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals, Anthony Davis made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer and yelled Bryant's name, while the team was wearing the 'Black Mamba' jerseys. Following a Game 2 win in the 2020 NBA Finals, LeBron James was asked about the jerseys and had this to say: "It's always special to represent someone that meant so much, not only to the game but also to the Lakers organization for 20-plus years. For us to honor him, being on the floor, this is what it's all about."

On January 26, 2022, coinciding with the 2nd anniversary of his death and the helicopter crash, a statue of Bryant and his daughter Gianna was placed at the site where the crash occurred. Later in February, the NBA redesigned the All-Star Game MVP trophy as part of the major redesign of the All-Star Weekend trophies in celebration of the league's 75th anniversary season.

On August 24, 2023, the Lakers stated that Bryant's statue outside of Arena will be revealed on February 8, 2024, to honor his two numbers with the Lakers, 8 and 24 (2/8/24).

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[6] " G'd Up " (In the video Vanessa is in the convertible in a silver bikini). Bryant was in the building working on his debut musical album, which was never released.

The two began dating and were engaged just six months later in May 2000,[7] all while Laine was still a senior at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California. Due to the media, she finished high school through independent study.[8] According to Vanessa's cousin Laila Laine, there was no prenuptial agreement. Vanessa said Kobe "loved her too much for one".[9].

They married on April 18, 2001 in Dana Point, California. There were only about 12 guests at the wedding. Neither Bryant's parents, his two sisters, longtime advisor and agent Arn Tellem, nor Bryant's Laker teammates attended. 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 wasn't African-American[10]. This disagreement resulted in an estrangement period of over two years, during which Kobe Bryant did not have any contact with his parents.

The Bryants' first child, a daughter named Natalia Diamante Bryant, was born on January 19, 2003. The birth of Natalia influenced Bryant to reconcile his differences with his parents. Vanessa Bryant suffered a miscarriage due to an ectopic pregnancy in the Spring of 2005. In the Fall of 2005, the Bryants announced that they were expecting their second child. Their second daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, was born on May 1, 2006. Interestingly, Gianna was born 6 minutes ahead of former teammate Shaquille O'Neal's daughter Me'arah Sanaa, who was born in Florida.[11]

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. In early December 2016, Vanessa gave birth to their third daughter, and in January 2019, the Bryants announced that they were expecting a fourth daughter. Their daughter was born in June 2019.

Bryant was a practicing Catholic. He said his faith and a priest helped him through difficult times, such as his trial for rape. A Catholic cantor said she was inspired by Bryant's faith, and the respect that he showed her. Bryant and his family were regular attendees at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach. Bryant and Gianna have received the Eucharist together just hours before the crash.

Bryant was multilingual. He was fluent in English, Italian, and Spanish. Bryant assigned himself the nickname of "Black Mamba", citing a desire for his basketball skills to mimic the eponymous snake's ability to "strike with 99% accuracy at maximum speed, in rapid succession." During the 2012–13 season, he began referring to himself as "vino" to describe how his play had been aging like a fine wine.

In January 2002, Bryant bought a Mediterranean-style house for $4 million, located on a cul-de-sac in Newport Coast, Newport Beach. He sold the house in May 2015.

In 2013, Bryant had a legal disagreement with an auction house over memorabilia from his early years that his mother had put up for auction. Bryant's mother had received $450,000 from the auction house for the items, and contended Bryant had given her the rights to the items that he had remaining in her home. However, Bryant's lawyers asked the auction house to return the items. Before the scheduled trial, a settlement was reached allowing the auction house the sale of less than 10% of the items. Bryant's parents have apologized to him for the misunderstanding in a written statement, and appreciated the financial support he had given them over the years.

Bryant was a lifelong fan of his hometown NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles. He was also a fan of soccer teams Barcelona, A.C. Milan, and Manchester City.

According to Forbes, Bryant's net worth was estimated at $350 million in 2016, ranking him #10 on the Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid athletes.



At 9:06 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Sunday, January 26, 2020, a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter departed from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, with nine people aboard: Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, six family friends, and the pilot. The helicopter was registered to the Fillmore-based Island Express Holding Corp., according to the California Secretary of State business database. The group was traveling to a basketball game at Bryant's Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks.

Due to light rain and fog that morning, the LAPD helicopters and most other air traffic were grounded. The flight tracker showed that the helicopter had circled above the L.A. Zoo due to heavy air traffic in the area. At 9:30 a.m. the pilot contacted the Burbank Airport's control tower, notifying the tower of the situation and was told that he was "flying too low" to be tracked by radar. At that time, the helicopter experienced extreme fog and turned south towards the mountains. At 9:40 a.m. the helicopter climbed rapidly from 1,200 to 2,000 feet (370 to 610 m), flying at 161 knots (298 km/h; 185 mph).

At 9:45 a.m., the helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain in Calabasas, about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and began burning. Bryant, his daughter, and the other seven occupants were killed. This also started a quarter-acre bush fire. At 9:47 a.m. authorities were called. Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters responded to the scene, and paramedics rappelled from a helicopter to the scene to look for survivors. The fire was difficult to extinguish due to the presence of magnesium, but the fire had been extinguished by 10:30 a.m. Initial reports indicated that the helicopter had crashed in the hills above Calabasas in a heavy fog. Witnesses reported hearing a helicopter struggling before crashing.


The cause of the crash is still unknown, as the helicopter was not equipped with a black box. The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, and the FBI have launched investigations into the crash.

On January 28, 2020, Bryant's identity was officially confirmed using fingerprints. The following day, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner stated that the official cause of death for him and the eight others on the helicopter was blunt force trauma.

Over the year after the crash on February 9, 2021, the NTSB revealed that 'poor visibility probably led pilot Ara Zobayan to become so disoriented in thick fog north of Los Angeles that he could not perceive up from down.' The five board members also said Zobayan, who also died in the crash, ignored his training and violated federal regulations during the 40-minute flight.

Tributes and funeral services

Around 200 people gathered at the foot of the hill close to the crash, with many wearing Bryant's jersey and holding basketballs. People also formed an impromptu memorial at the Staples Center, the home arena of the Los Angeles Lakers (the team that Bryant had played for during his entire 20 year NBA career, from 1996 to 2016) just hours before the arena was scheduled to host the Grammy Awards.

The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards went ahead as scheduled at the Staples Center on the day of the crash, but included tributes by multiple artists and groups. During the ceremony, host Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men performed "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" in tribute to Bryant, and other performers, including Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Run-DMC, Aerosmith and DJ Khaled, incorporated tributes to Bryant in their performances. Bryant's two retired jerseys hanging in the rafters of the Staples Center were illuminated by spotlight.

A week after Bryant's death, Staples Center staff began to clean up the makeshift memorial outside the arena, but promised to catalog, pack, and ship all nonperishable items to his family. Among the items thus recovered were 1,350 basketballs, as well as "25,000 candles, 5,000 signs or letters, 500 stuffed animals, 350 pairs of shoes and 14 banners."

Fans created a memorial for Bryant outside of the Kobe Bryant Gymnasium at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, which Bryant attended from 1992 to 1996. Jerseys, dedicated basketballs, teddy bears, flowers, and candles were all laid down to memorialize Bryant.

Landmarks around the world, including the Los Angeles International Airport, Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building and the Santa Ana Water tower in Bryant's home of Orange County, CA were lit purple and gold in Bryant's memory.

On February 2, 2020, the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa, lit up with images in tribute to Bryant and his daughter. The display was arranged by the Executive Chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) Ahmed Sultan Bin Sulayem.

On February 7, 2020, Bryant and his daughter were buried in a private funeral in Pacific View Memorial Park in the Corona del Mar neighborhood of Newport Beach, California.

A public memorial service was held on February 24 (2/24, marking both Kobe's and Gianna's jersey numbers), 2020 at the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles with Jimmy Kimmel hosting. Speakers at the service included Vanessa, Jordan, and O'Neal, along with Chino native, Laker fan and Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi and Geno Auriemma, Taurasi's coach at Connecticut, where Gianna had been aspiring to play.

The NBA had postponed the Lakers' game against the Clippers just two days after the accident on January 28, 2020 – the first time an NBA game had been postponed for any reason since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing led to the postponement of a Celtics game. On January 30, 2020, the first game after the crash was played at Staples Center between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Sacramento Kings; the Clippers honored Bryant before the game, with Southern California native Paul George narrating a video tribute to Bryant. The next day, the Lakers played their first game after the crash against the Portland Trail Blazers. Ahead of the match, the Lakers paid tribute to Bryant and all who lost their lives in the crash with a ceremony held just before tip off, with Usher singing "Amazing Grace" and Boyz II Men singing the National Anthem, while Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth reunited to perform "See You Again" – originally their tribute to Paul Walker after his death while filming Furious 7 – at halftime. James also delivered a speech to the crowd before the game, and every player in the Lakers starting lineup was announced with Bryant's name. The game was the second-most-watched in ESPN history, averaging 4.41 million viewers.

Also, beginning with the San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors in their game in San Antonio on the day of the crash, teams paid tribute to Bryant at the start of their games with intentional on-court violations referring to his uniform numbers on their first possession – either a 24-second shot clock or an 8-second backcourt violation. On February 15, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the All-Star Game MVP Award would be renamed to the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant Most Valuable Player in Bryant's honor. In May 2020, the Mamba Sports Academy was renamed to Sports Academy out of respect for Bryant.

Bryant also appeared at the start of the In Memoriam segment of the 92nd Academy Awards following his Oscar in 2018 for Dear Basketball, and Spike Lee wore a suit in tribute to him at the ceremony. He was not included in the montages at the 2020 VMAs and Emmys, held later in the year. Fans were upset at the omission, especially as actors Naya Rivera and Chadwick Boseman had been featured prominently in both; after Rivera and Boseman's unexpected deaths in July and August 2020 respectively, the three young black celebrities were popularly compared. The 2020 Pro Bowl was also played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on the day of the crash, and before kickoff, NFC players who learned of Bryant's death conducted a prayer led by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, while various on-field and PA tributes were made during the game.

After the Lakers beat the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals to clinch the franchise's 17th NBA championship (tying with the Boston Celtics, rapper, Lakers fan and Long Beach native Snoop Dogg paid homage to Bryant and the Lakers with a full forearm tattoo. Bryant was posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021, with Vanessa delivering the acceptance speech on Bryant' s behalf.

Awards and achievements

Career highlights

  • 5-time NBA Champion: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010
  • NBA Finals MVP: 2009, 2010
  • MVP: 2008
  • 18-time NBA All-Star: 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    • Has started in each of his appearances
    • 9 consecutive appearances (No All-Star game in 1999 due to league-wide lock-out)
    • Did not play in 2010 due to injury.
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP: 2002, 2007, 2009
    • Co-MVP with Shaquille O'Neal in 2009.
  • 2-time NBA Scoring Champion: 2006 (35.4), 2007 (31.6)
  • 11-time All-NBA Selection:
    • First Team: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
    • Second Team: 2000, 2001
    • Third Team: 1999, 2005
  • 9-time All-Defensive Selection:
    • First Team: 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
    • Second Team: 2001, 2002
  • 2-time NBA regular-season leader, points: 2003 (2,461), 2006 (2,832)
  • 2-time NBA regular-season leader, field goals made: 2003 (868), 2006 (978)
  • NBA regular-season leader, field goals attempted: 2006 (2,173)
  • NBA regular-season leader, free throws made: 2006 (696)
  • NBA All-Rookie Second Team: 1997
  • NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Champion: 1997
  • 2nd highest single-game point total in NBA history: 81, set on January 22, 2006 vs. the Toronto Raptors. (The record is 100 points set by Wilt Chamberlain on March 2, 1962.)
  • 7th highest single-season point total in NBA history: 2,832, 2005-06 (Top 6 held by Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan)
  • 9th highest single-season scoring average in NBA history: 35.4, 2005-06 (Top 8 held by Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Michael Jordan, and Rick Barry)
  • Career 40+ Point Games (Regular Season): 104
    • 3rd in NBA history, behind Wilt Chamberlain (271), Michael Jordan (173)
  • Career 50+ Point Games (Regular Season): 24
    • 3rd in NBA history, behind Wilt Chamberlain (118), Michael Jordan (31)
  • Career triple-doubles (as of 2006): 14 [12]
  • Career statistics (as of 2006): 23.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.5 apg, 0.61 bpg, 1.50 spg, .451 FG%, .336 3FG%, .834 FT% [13]
  • Career playoff statistics (as of 2006): 22.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.5 apg, 0.73 bpg, 1.34 spg, .438 FG%, .329 3FG%, .791 FT% [14]
  • On February 18, 2006, Named one of the Next 10 Greatest Players on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the release of the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team by the TNT broadcasting crew.

NBA records

Kobe Bryant holds ten NBA records:

  • Most points – career (271 by Kobe Bryant)
  • Most three-point field goals made, one game: 12 (January 7, 2003 vs. Seattle SuperSonics; first player to reach this plateau; tied with Donyell Marshall) [15]
  • Most three-point field goals made, one half: 8 (March 28, 2003 vs. Washington Wizards; tied with 5 players). [16]
  • Most consecutive three-point field goals made, one game: 9 (January 7, 2003 vs. Seattle SuperSonics; first player to reach this plateau; tied with Latrell Sprewell and Ben Gordon). [17]
  • Most free throws made, one quarter: 14 (3rd quarter, December 20, 2005 vs. Dallas Mavericks; tied with 5 players). [18][19]
  • Most free throws attempted, one quarter: 16 (3rd quarter, December 20, 2005 vs. Dallas Mavericks; tied with 6 players). [20][21]
  • Most All-Star Game three-point field goals made, all-time: 11 (1997–present; tied with Tracy McGrady, Ray Allen, and Jason Kidd). [22]
  • Most points scored by a player against a team in consecutive games: 112 (81 on January 22, 2006 and 31 on November 17, 2006 against the Toronto Raptors)
  • Holds shot-clock era records for:
    • Greatest percentage of own team's point total (66.4% of the Lakers' 122 points)
    • Greatest percentage of both teams' combined point total (35.8% of the Lakers' and Raptors' 226 points)
    • (both set on January 22, 2006 vs. the Toronto Raptors).

Lakers franchise records

Kobe Bryant holds thirty-one Los Angeles Lakers franchise records:

  • Points
    • Season: 2,832 (2005-06; 7th highest NBA single season scoring output of all-time)
    • Game: 81 (January 22, 2006 vs. Toronto Raptors) [23]
    • Half: 55 (2nd half, January 22, 2006 vs. Toronto Raptors). [24]
    • Quarter: 30 (twice, most recently on November 30, 2006 in 3rd quarter vs. Utah Jazz) [25]
    • Overtime, playoffs: 12 (May 4, 2006 vs. Phoenix Suns) [26]
    • Scoring average, month: 43.4 (January 2006)
    • Games scoring 50 points or more, season: 6 (2005-06)[27]
    • Games scoring 40 points or more, season: 27 (2005-06) [28]
    • Consecutive games of 40 points or more: 9 (February 6–February 23, 2003) [29]
    • Consecutive games of 20 points or more, season: 62 (December 9, 2005–April 19, 2006)
  • Field goals made
    • Half: 18 (2nd half, January 22, 2006 vs. Toronto Raptors). [30]
    • Quarter: 11 (February 2, 1999 vs. Seattle SuperSonics). [31]
  • Field goals attempted
    • Half: 28 (tied with Elgin Baylor; 2nd half, January 22, 2006 vs. Toronto Raptors). [32]
  • Free throws made
    • Game: 23 (twice, most recently on January 31, 2006 vs. New York Knicks). [33]
    • Half: 16 (January 30, 2001 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers) [34]
    • Quarter: 14 (3rd quarter, December 20, 2005 vs. Dallas Mavericks) [35]
    • Quarter, playoffs: 11 (tied with 3 players; May 8, 1997 vs. Utah Jazz). [36]
    • Consecutive: 62 (January 11–22, 2006). [37]
  • Free throws attempted
    • Quarter: 16 (3rd quarter, December 20, 2005 vs. Dallas Mavericks). [38]
  • Three-point field goals made
    • All-time: 871 (1996–present) [39]
    • Game: 12 (January 7, 2003 vs. Seattle SuperSonics). [40]
    • Half: 8 (1st half, March 28, 2003 vs. Washington Wizards). [41]
    • Quarter: 6 (2nd quarter, January 7, 2003 vs. Seattle Supersonics). [42]
    • Without a miss, game: 7 (January 6, 2006 vs. Philadelphia 76ers). [43]
    • Consecutive: 9 (January 7, 2003 vs. Seattle SuperSonics). [44]
  • Three-point field goals attempted
    • All-time: 2,576 (1996–present) [45]
    • All-time, playoffs: 410 (1996–present) [46]
    • Season: 518 (2005-06) [47]
    • Game: 18 (January 7, 2003 vs. Seattle SuperSonics). [48]
  • Steals
    • Half: 6 (tied with 3 players; February 13, 2006 vs. Utah Jazz). [49]
    • Quarter, playoffs: 3 (tied with 6 players; May 17, 1999 vs. San Antonio Spurs). [50]

Other awards and achievements

  • 1996 Naismith High School Player of the Year [51]
  • 1996 Gatorade Circle of Champions High School Player of the Year [51]
  • 1996 McDonald's High School All-American [51]
  • 1996 USA Today All-USA First Team [51]
  • 1995 Adidas ABCD Camp Senior MVP [51]
  • Named to the USA Today All-Time All-USA First Team in 2003. [51]
  • USA Today and Parade Magazine's 1996 National High School Player of the Year with a seasonal average of 30.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4.0 steals, and 3.9 blocks per game. [52]
  • Led Lower Merion High School to a 31-3 record, including 27 straight wins, and the PIAA Class AAAA state title as a senior (1996).[52]
  • The all-time leading scorer in Southeastern Pennsylvania school history with 2,883 points. [52]


External links


  3., Toronto Raptors vs Los Angeles Lakers, January 22, 2006, accessed January 26, 2007
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 51.3 51.4 51.5 Fact sheet (accessed May 17, 2006)
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 Biograhy (accessed May 17, 2006)

See also