Kobe Bryant Biography
Bryant has very quickly become one of the all
time greats in the NBA. His story has been a controversial
one involving public and hostile rifts with former
LA Lakers partner, Shaquille O'Neal and a very
public rape charge by a young hotel employee which
eventually was dropped from criminal prosecution
and later settled in a civil law suit. Love him
or hate him, it can't be disputed that on-court
he makes things happen and he was fundamental
to the magical LA Lakers 1999 - 2002 seasons where
they won an historical three NBA titles in a row.
He's currently number 7 on the America's favorite
sportstar list behind sporting icons like Tiger
Woods, Michael Jordan and Brett Favre and is very
likely to stay there for some time.
was born on August 23rd 1978 in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania to Pamela and Joe Bryant. His father
was a former NBA player giving Kobe a great start
in the game. By age 14 he would be beating him
one-on-one! As a boy he dreamt of going straight
to the NBA from High School (basically as soon
as the NBA draft rules would allow him) and he
continued to make his mark up to this point taking
his High School team from non-contenders to state
champions in the four years he was playing with
1996 the big day arrived - the first NBA draft
that he was eligible for - and he went straight
to the Charlotte Hornets after which he was soon
transferred to the LA Lakers for the 1996 - 1997
season. He was then the youngest ever player to
start an NBA game. His first three seasons were
successful ones. He contributed significantly
to the development of the LA Lakers as a team
who won their first title in 1999, he scored double
figures an impressive 25 times (in his first season
alone!) and averaged 19.9 points in the 1998 -
1999 season placing him second in the team.
success continued into the 2000 - 2001 season
and the 2001 - 2002 season. These were the glory
days of the LA Lakers in which they went on to
win their second and third NBA title. Kobe's personal
score card also continued to improve with a record-breaking
28.5 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists per game
in the 2000 - 2001 season and 25 points, 5.5 rebounds
and 5.5 assists per game in the 2001 - 2002 season.
Much of the success of the Lakers and of Kobe's
own development at this time is attributed to
his dynamic partnership with Shaquille O'Neal.
neither the triumphs of the Lakers or the awe-inspiring
partnership of two of the most gifted basketball
players the sport has ever seen were to last.
In the 2002 - 2003 season the Lakers failed to
make it past the playoffs and growing conflict
between leading duo Bryant and O'Neal was causing
rifts in the team.
situation worsened in the 2003 - 2004 season as
Kobe became a free agent and eventually Shaquille
demanded a transfer. In reference to this time
coach Phil Jackson later released a poignant book
which was titled: The Last Season: A Team In Search
Of It's Soul which accurately depicted the struggles
that existed at the heart of the LA Lakers.
Kobe also found himself in trouble in the summer
of 2003 as a young woman called Katelyn Faber,
an employee at a hotel where Bryant had stayed,
filed a sexual assault claim against the Lakers
star, in which she accused Bryant of raping her.
The media attention was massive and although criminal
proceedings were later dropped against Kobe, he
did settle a civil claim and the effect that this
saga has had on his public image will be longstanding.
O'Neal left the Lakers, Kobe took the leadership
role in the 2004 - 2005 season. This season turned
out to be the darkest for the Lakers in a whole
decade as they failed to make the playoffs for
the first time in that period and Kobe failed
to make the NBA-All Defensive Team.
was the return of Phil Jackson in the 2005 - 2006
season that hailed a potential turnaround with
Kobe and Jackson overcoming their past differences
to lead the Lakers back to the playoffs. They
made the first round which bettered the previous
year and now the future of the team and Kobe's
position in it rests on their ability to recapture
the winning ways of 1999 to 2002.
next two to three seasons should prove very interesting
and at only 27 there's a lot more to come from