Kobe Bryant would have turned 42 today, and yes, it’s incredibly difficult to write that out. Just as it seemed that the intense competitor was becoming a well-rounded businessman and devoted family man, his life, and that of his daughter Gigi and others involved in the accident, was tragically cut short this past January.
Kobe Bean Bryant was born in 1978 in Philadelphia, Pa. to parents Joe “Jellybean” Bryant and Pamela Bryant. Bryant’s father, a former NBA player, retired from the league and headed to Italy to continue his professional career. Bryant spent his formative years in Italy, becoming fluent in the language, and was enamored by sports most especially soccer and basketball.
At 13, the family returned to Philadelphia where a young Bryant become a high school phenom at Lower Merion High School in the suburbs of the big city. Bryant’s on-court exploits saw him named as the state’s top prospect and the media hype that ensued grew larger than expected.
Bryant went on to be named the Naismith High School Play of the Year, along with other notable awards that included Gatorade Men’s National Basketball Player of the Year, a McDonald’s All-American, a first-team Parade All-American and a USA Today All-USA First Team player. Several of the nation’s top colleges sought to recruit Bryant but he had other plans for his basketball destiny.
Following the footsteps of Kevin Garnett, Bryant made the leap from high school to the pros and was selected with the 13th pick by the Charlotte Hornets before getting traded to his favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers. Having played his entire career with the Lakers, Bryant was a five-time champion, an 18-time NBA All-Star selection, and league MVP among other honors.
Across Twitter, fans and former players alike are honoring the late Kobe Bryant.
Black Mamba Forever. May he and all lost rest powerfully in peace.
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