Kobe Bryant: an NBA legend

Courtesy of SportsnGiggles

Courtesy of SportsnGiggles

Joe Riley, STAFF WRITER

Kobe Bryant.  A name synonymous with greatness and success. After scoring 60 points in his final regular season game with the Los Angeles Lakers, a comeback win against the Utah Jazz, it begs the question – how did he become one of the most iconic figures in all of sports, let alone basketball?

Bryant was born in Philadelphia on August 23, 1978. His name comes from his dad’s favorite Japanese steakhouse. In 1984, the Bryants packed up their lives and moved to Italy. From a young age, Kobe had no shortage of athletic role models and inspiration, with two athletic older sisters and his father, who himself had a long NBA career.

Seven years later, the family moved back to Philadelphia just in time for Bryant to start his high school basketball career. He wasted no time turning heads when he led his Lower Merion High School team to four consecutive state championships. With NBA scouts knocking at his door, Bryant quickly realized that his best option would be to skip college entirely in order to pursue his dream of becoming an NBA star.

Bryant was drafted 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets, but was soon traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would spend the rest of his career. Playing your entire career with the same team is unheard of these days, especially when this career spanned 20 years.

His life in the NBA got off to a fiery start when in just his second season in the league, he was selected to the All-Star Team as a mere 19-years old, making him the youngest player to achieve this. Obviously, that was just the beginning for Bryant.

Over the course of his career, Bryant went on to be selected to the All-Star Team eighteen times, leading his team to six NBA Championships, all while shattering various records.

Bryant kept up this dogged attitude until the final whistle blew on his career. Given his superstardom, a quiet last game would not be the storybook ending to such an illustrious career. Instead, he went out in the most fitting way a champion can— with a record-breaking performance — by becoming the oldest player ever to score 60 points in a game.

Although his career has come to an end, there is no doubt that Bryant’s legacy will live on through his fans, his friends, and his even business expertise. It is not just all the records he broke, or all the points he scored, but also the way he did it. There was an undeniable aura that followed him everywhere he went. Whether it was the smirk he always wore or the earth-shattering dunks, he never hesitated to throw down. You always knew it was Bryant. You knew it was greatness. You may not have have liked it, but it was success. Down the road, there may be more great basketball players, but there will never be another Kobe Bryant.

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