In 1996, Kobe Bryant became the youngest basketball player to ever enter the NBA straight out of high school. And that was only the first of many career-long accomplishments.
The 6-foot 6-inch small forward won five NBA titles with the Lakers and two Olympic gold medals for the United States. Bryant won two NBA Finals MVP awards and is fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 33,643 points. The basketball legend died on Jan. 26, 2020 in a California helicopter crash at the age of 41.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant(L) and Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan(R) talk during a free-throw attempt during the fourth quarter 17 December at the United Center in Chicago. Bryant, who is 19 and bypassed college basketball to play in the NBA, scored a team-high 33 points off the bench, and Jordan scored a team-high 36 points. The Bulls defeated the Lakers 104-83.
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers points in the second quarter of Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers adjusts his jersey during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Lakers 102-90.
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives against the New York Knicks on December 16, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 116-114.
Kobe Bryant (L) of the Los Angeles Lakers holds the Larry O’Brian trophy as teammate Shaquille O’Neal (L) hold the MVP trophy after winning the NBA Championship against Indiana Pacers 19 June, 2000, after game six of the NBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. The Lakers won the game 116-111 to take the NBA title 4-2 in the best-of-seven series.
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
Kobe Bryant poses with his family at halftime after both his #8 and #24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Filmmakers Kobe Bryant (L) and Glen Keane accept Best Animated Short Film for ‘Dear Basketball’ onstage during the 90th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California.
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers walks down the court against the New York Knicks on February 2, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates victory following Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena on June 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. The Lakers won the National Basketball Association championships defeating Orlando 99-86 for their 15th title and first since 2002. Bryant had 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists as the Lakers completed a four-games-to-one victory in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.
Kobe Bryant walk out to center court during his jersey retirement ceremony at halftime of a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant (L) talks to teammate Shaquille O’Neal (R) late in the 4th quarter during Game One of the NBA Western Conference first round play-off against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles 22 April 2001. The Lakers defeated the Trail Blazers 106-93 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Bryant was the Lakers high scorer with 28 points and Shaq was second with 24 points.
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Washington Wizards in the first half at Verizon Center on December 2, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant (L) and Shaquille O’Neal (R) hold up the Championship and MVP trophies after game four of the NBA Finals against the New Jersey Nets at Continental Airlines Arena Kobe Bryant 12 June 2002 in East Rutherford, NJ. The Lakers won their third consecutive title by a score of 113-107 to sweep the best-of-seven series.
LA Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant poses for a magazine shoot held in 1999 at the Coliseum, in Los Angeles, California.