|Type||Competed in Olympic Games|
|Full name||Kobe Bean•Bryant|
|Nick/petnames||The Black Mamba|
|Born||23 August 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA)|
|Died||26 January 2020 in Calabasas, California (USA)|
|Measurements||198 cm / 100 kg|
|Affiliations||Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles (USA)|
Two-time Olympic champion Kobe Bryant played a vital role on America’s basketball “Redeem Team” at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing when the United States desperately needed to redeem themselves from being eliminated in the semi-finals four years prior in Athens. Winning the 2008 Olympic title, Team USA, led by Bryant, successfully defended at the 2012 Olympics by defeating Spain 107-100 for back-to-back golds. Bryant represented his country on five USA Basketball national teams and aided those teams to a 36-0 record (and the two Olympic gold medals). In 37 games played, he compiled 504 points (13.6 ppg), 86 rebounds (2.3 rpg) and 102 assists (2.8 apg).
Right out of high school Bryant was selected 13th overall in the 1997 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, becoming the 27th player to jump from high school directly into the NBA. The Hornets traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he played his entire 20-year career. He won five NBA championships (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010), was twice named NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010) and was once named the NBA’s MVP (2008). He holds the NBA record for the most seasons playing with one franchise for an entire career. The NBA’s number three all-time scorer (as of 2019), twice Bryant was the NBA scoring champion (2006, 2007). He entered the league as the rookie who won the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest and fast became a fan favourite. He was an 18-time All-Star and a 15-time member of the All-NBA Team.
Bryant’s high school career was played at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, where he was recognized as the top high school basketball player in the country and named the 1996 Naismith Prep Player of the Year. His father Joe Bryant (aka Joseph Washington “Jellybean” Bryant) was a professional basketball player in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers, the San Diego Clippers and the Houston Rockets. Kobe spent eight years in Italy in the late 1980’s when his father was playing there, and spoke fluent Italian. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, Bryant’s parents named him after the Kobe beef steak they had seen on a restaurant menu prior to his birth. His nickname “The Black Mamba” is a name he gave himself as a way to deal with the struggles he was going through on and off the court in 2003 and 2004.
Bryant’s life was not without controversy. Most notably, in 2003, Bryant was scheduled to have surgery in Vail, Colorado at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic. The night before his surgery he had a sexual encounter with a hotel employee, who later accused him of sexual assault. Bryant admitted to the sexual encounter but denied the allegations of sexual assault and the criminal charge was eventually dropped. The woman, however, filed a civil suit against Bryant, which was settled privately.
A few years after his retirement from the NBA, Bryant’s name was in the headlines again when LeBron James surpassed him for career points scored in the NBA. That news was on the morning sports shows in the United States to be followed, only a few hours later, by the sad news that Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter fire and crash.
|2008 Summer Olympics||Basketball (Basketball)||Basketball, Men||Olympic||United States||1||Gold||Representing United States|
|2012 Summer Olympics||Basketball (Basketball)||Basketball, Men||Olympic||United States||1||Gold||Representing United States|