Kobe Bean Bryant
Kobe Bean Bryant (born August 23, 1978) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He entered the NBA directly from high school, and has played for the Lakers his entire career, winning five NBA championships. Bryant is a 17-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team. He has led the league in scoring twice, and he ranks third on both the league's all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring lists.
The son of former NBA player Joe Bryant, Kobe Bryant enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, where he was recognized as the top high school basketball player in the country. He declared his eligibility for the NBA draft upon graduation, and was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. As a rookie, Bryant earned himself a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan favorite by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest.
In 2003, Bryant was accused of sexual assault after having sex with a hotel employee in Edwards, Colorado. In September 2004, prosecutors dropped the case after his accuser refused to testify, though a civil suit was later settled out of court.
Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive championships from 2000 to 2002. A feud between the duo and a loss in the 2004 NBA Finals resulted in O'Neal's trade from the Lakers to the Miami Heat. Following O'Neal's departure, Bryant became the cornerstone of the franchise. He led the NBA in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons, setting numerous scoring records in the process. In 2006, Bryant scored a career-high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second most points scored in a single game in NBA history, second only to Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962. He was awarded the...