Kobe Bryant was undoubtedly one of the NBA’s most influential superstars. The Philadelphia native tragically passed away in a helicopter accident over the weekend, alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.
The son of former NBA star, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, Kobe was a natural-born talent even before he put on the jersey. As the world mourns, let’s remember his legacy…
Kobe started playing the game at just three years old. As a teenager, he attended Lower Merion high school in the Philly suburb of Ardmore where he became an instant star on the court. With eyes on him, many speculated whether he’d attend his father’s ala mater, La Salle University, or go straight to the NBA draft.
Growing up in Philly, Kobe flirted with the ‘battle-rap’ scene and formed the group ‘CHEIZAW’. The group was signed by Sony but eventually dropped because he didn’t agree with their plans for him to go solo and crossover with pop.
The 1996 NBA draft came around and the Charlotte Hornets selected 17-year-old Kobe as the 13th overall pick straight out of high school. Charlotte almost immediately traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Vlade Divac. Supposedly, Laker’s general manager, Jerry West, had his sights on Kobe from the very beginning.
At the time, 18-year old Kobe became the youngest player in NBA history and gave longtime vets a run for their money.
He would go on the spend the rest of his 20-year-long career with the L.A. Lakers, winning five NBA championships and retiring in 2016.
At just 20-years-old Kobe married his sweetheart, Vanessa Laine Bryant in 2001. The couple welcomed four daughters between 2003 and 2019.
In 2006, Kobe crushed the Toronto Raptors by scoring 81 points—the second-highest number scored by any player in a single NBA game.
At 29-years-old, the NBA star became the youngest player in the league to score 20,000 career points. LeBron James later beat this record. Then, in 2012 at 34-years-old, again he became the youngest player to score 30,000 career points. Just hours before his tragic death, Kobe tweeted a congratulatory message to Lebron James, saluting him for reaching 30,000 career points.
Kobe was also a star off the court. A family man and philanthropist, Kobe was the official ambassador for After-School-All-Stars, a foundation providing after-school activities to more than 72,000 inner-city kids. Bryant supported six other charities including Make-A-Wish, Cathy’s Kids and the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.
As one of the biggest sports icons of our time, Bryant did it all. There will never be another Kobe.
It’s with a heavy heart that the team at Hypefresh offers condolences to the Bryant family for the loss of a husband, father, teammate, idol, and friend. And for the loss of the young Gianna Bryant, who was bound to do big things on and off the court, as well as the families of the seven other victims of this tragedy.
How are you guys feeling about this crazy news? Were you a Kobe fan?
Lastly, let us know your thoughts in the comments…