Knowing Bryant: The legacy that will live forever

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Earlier today, the world was shocked with the news of the tragic loss of a legend.

Kobe Bryant during Lakers game at Wizards, December 3, 2014. | Photo from "Kobe Bryant2 2014" by Wikimedia Commons is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Kobe Bryant during Lakers game at Wizards, December 3, 2014. | Photo from “Kobe Bryant2 2014” by Wikimedia Commons is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

A helicopter crash in Calabasas, California killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others.

Bryant and his daughter were on their way to Mamba Sports Academy in California where Gianna was expected to play in a tournament as part of the Mamba Cup Series.

He was 41.

Kobe Bean Bryant was born on August 23, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

His parents are Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant, and has two siblings – Sharia and Shaya Bryant.

He grew up in Reiti, Italy, as his family moved to the country when he was six.

His career in basketball started to shape up when his family moved back to Philadephia and enrolled him in Lower Merion High School.

Kobe Bryant high school days at Lower Merion High School.
New Building at Lower Merion High School, Lower Merion, Pennsylvania. | “Lower Merion High School – New Building” by Wikimedia Commons is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

With Bryant’s participation, the high school won again a state championship after 53 years of drought.

He finished high school and soon decided to pursue the sport instead of college.

Bryant was drafted into the ‘National Basketball Association’ by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996, and later on, was traded to play for the Los Angeles Lakers making him the youngest player ever to play in an ‘NBA’ game.

Bryant was unstoppable as he continues making history in the NBA – youngest player to win the ‘Slam Dunk Competition’, and youngest NBA player to receive the honor of being an ‘NBA All-Star’.

With such skill, Bryant became a premier guard in the league and garnered his first and only ‘Most Valuable Player’ of the league award in 2008.

In 2009, he continued to lead his team in scoring with 32.4 points per game in the series.

Bryant’s career in the NBA, however, isn’t just fun and games.

In 2013, Bryant ruptured his Achilles tendon making him miss the whole season.

Later that year, he went back to the court but only played for six games.

He then again was injured in 2015 as he tore his rotator cuff and soon decided to retire after the 2015 – 2016 season.

He stayed with the Lakers for 20 years winning five championships; 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, and 2010.

His passion for basketball, however, didn’t stop there.

His passion for the sport made him write a poem entitled ‘Dear Basketball’ which in 2017, was used as a basis for an animated short.

‘Dear Basketball’, later on, won an Academy for Best Animated Short Film.

He also published a book entitled The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, in 2018.

Bryant is married to Vannessa Laine and was blessed with four daughters; Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri.

Gianna died with him today.

The couples also initiated a foundation called Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KVBFF) which is ‘dedicated to improving the lives of youth and families in need, both domestically and globally’.

Despite his passing, his undeniable contribution to basketball, and the community will always be remembered.

Indeed, forever, the Mamba lives.

“Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise,” Kobe Bryant.

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