BY Michael Franco
Kobe Bean Bryant, aka “Black Mamba” was born on August 23, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As you may have heard in recent news, or just by over hearing people’s conversations, Bryant and his daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, along with seven other passengers, died yesterday in a helicopter crash at 9:47 am PT. People are going to social media to show their support for the Bryant family and the families of the other victims, celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal, Tom Brady, Donald Trump, Trae Young, etc; took to twitter to show their support. This event shocked the whole world as Kobe was not only a famous basketball player and father of four, but a person that loves to help other people in his community and people around the world to become a better version of themselves. As we look at the tragic accident that occurred yesterday, we have to look back at the mark he left on the world. Kobe was the son of Joe Bryant and Pam Bryant, and the youngest out of the three kids. He started playing basketball at the ripe age of three. Bryant grew up watching basketball and the Los Angeles Lakers were his favorite team. Bryant went on to play basketball at Low Merion High School where he played on the varsity team as a freshman, making him the first freshmen on the varsity team in decades. They finished the season with a 4-20 record. The following three years; however, were very different because the team finished with a 77-13 record due to the fact that Bryant played at all five positions. During his junior year of high school Bryant went on to average 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists and was named Pennsylvania Player of the Year. Bryant was drafted right out of high school in the 1996 draft and went to the Los Angeles Lakers where he played his whole 20 career seasons. As a rookie in the 1996-’97 season, he was the youngest player to ever play an NBA game at that time at just 18 years and 72 days, and became the youngest person to ever be an NBA starter at 18 years and 158 days. In the 1999-2000 season, Bryant would have to sit out for the first six weeks due to a hand injury he incurred in the preseason game against the Washington Wizards. When Bryant returned after those six weeks he played over 38 minutes a game, Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal became a dynamic duo in that season and would go on to win 67 games (tied for fifth most in NBA history). This was followed by Shaquille O’Neal being named MVP and Bryant being named to the All-NBA Second Team and All-NBA Defensive Team (being the youngest player ever to receive defensive honors). The Lakers would go on to play in the playoffs and reach the NBA Finals and win for the first time in 13 years and be the next three NBA Finals champions. In the team’s fourth NBA Finals appearance, Bryant went on to win the championship and become NBA Finals MVP (his first), he would win the following season, reach the NBA Finals, and become champions again and be named Finals MVP. On April 13, 2016, Bryant would go on to play his last game in his NBA career and went on to score 60 points in that game, becoming the oldest player to score 60 or more points in a game at 37 years old and 237 days. He went on to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-96 and finish the season 17-65 record, worst in franchise history. When we look back at Kobe Bryant’s success we see that he was an 18x All Star, 5x NBA Champ, 12x All-Defensive, 4x MVP, 2x Scoring Champ, 15x All-NBA, 2x Finals MVP and 1996-’97 All-Rookie. Bryant would go onto marry Vannessa Laine on April 18, 2001 and would have four kids with the oldest being born in 2003, and the youngest being born in 2019. Bryant’s life would change when his second oldest daughter Gianna would want to grow up and play basketball and follow in her father’s footsteps. Bryant is being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year in August and would have given a speech to other Hall of Famers and close friends and family. Even though Bryant passed away in a tragic accident, his legacy still lives on throughout the world. His death has brought a lot of people together and brought the whole NBA to mourn his death and show respect by waiting out the 24-second and 8-second (he wore these two numbers during his career) violations at the beginning of games. Even though Bryant passed away in a tragic accident his legacy will live on for generations to come and will continue to impact the world and the entire NBA and its fans.