KOBE BRYANT Life Story- Facts You Might Never Have Heard Before
Kobe Bryant Facts: Kobe spent practically his entire life as a record-setting entertainer, and tragically died too soon.
Kobe Bryant Facts:
Kobe sealed his place in history as one of the greatest athletes to ever play the game of basketball.
He spent practically his entire life as a record-setting entertainer, and tragically died too soon. Here are some details of his astonishing life story you might never have heard before.
The late basketball player had a very original name: Kobe Bean Bryant.
Just how did Mr. and Mrs. Bryant come up with that one?
They took inspiration from a menu, of all places. While dining at a restaurant, Bryant's parents Joe and Pamela noticed that one of the entrees on the menu featured the world famous Kobe beef from Kobe, Japan.
They liked the sound, especially when paired with the middle name Bean, which is a shortening of Joe's nickname "Jellybean.".
So just how does a person become a once-in-a-lifetime basketball talent?
Well, in the case of Kobe Bryant, he was born into it. His father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, played professionally for 16 years including eight years in the NBA.
Before becoming a coach and his uncle on his mother's side, John "Chubby" Cox, also played professionally, earning a brief stint in the NBA with the Washington Bullets. With those kind of genes, Kobe was almost designed to be a basketball prodigy.
If it ever sounded like Kobe was speaking perfectly fluent Italian, don't worry, you probably understand a bit more Italian than you thought. In fact, Bryant learned Italian during his childhood, because he actually grew up in Italy.
When he was just 6-years-old, his dad signed on with an Italian basketball team and moved the family to Europe. While his contemporaries were watching Care Bears on Saturday morning.
Bryant spent his developmental years playing basketball. But he never left his American roots behind, returning to the U.S. every summer to play in developmental basketball leagues.
Returning to America at the end of his father's playing career, Kobe immediately became a sensation thanks to his legendary feats as a high school basketball player.
After suffering through a brutal 4-20 campaign his freshman year, he went on a tear, going 77-13 over the rest of his career while winning a state title and earning national honors, including the Naismith High School Player of the Year Award.
He was so good he was invited to scrimmage with the Philadelphia 76ers while still in high school.
The experience convinced him he was already at an NBA level so he opted to skip college entirely and entered the draft straight out of high school.
The NBA agreed; Bryant was the 13th pick in the draft in 1996 despite never playing a single college game.
"I, Kobe Bryant, have decided to skip college and take my talent to the NBA."
Everyone is familiar with the rap efforts of Bryant's Lakers teammate Shaquille O'Neal but most people probably have forgotten that Bryant once made a go at a music career of his own.
In high school, Bryant performed as part of a rap group called CHEIZAW, which was then signed to a record deal by Sony.
It was Bryant who was the main draw, though, so after dumping the rest of the group, Sony pushed Bryant to record a solo album called “Visions”.
The album was set to be released in 2000. But after the debut single "K.O.B.E." totally tanked, Sony scrapped the album entirely and dropped Bryant from the label.
For Kobe, if one good thing came out of his failed rap career it was the fact that he met his future wife Vanessa Laine while filming the video for "K.O.B.E."
It was the best thing to come from that ill-advised career turn, but their engagement caused a severe rift with Kobe's parents, who disapproved of their future daughter-in-law.
In fact, they reportedly refused to even attend the wedding and didn't speak to Kobe or his new bride for two years and that was just the start of the family squabble.
After his mother tried to sell some of Kobe's memorabilia, he brought legal action against his parents. Eventually forcing them to issue a written apology that acknowledged the financial support he had provided them.
It's every athlete's dream to represent their country in the Olympics...or so you'd think but Kobe's career with the U.S. National Basketball team got off to a very rocky start.
After refusing to play for the national team in both 2000 and 2002, he had to withdraw due to injury in 2003 and 2006.
Once he finally got around to suiting up for the USA, though, he made the most of it, winning Olympic gold medals in both 2008 and 2012.
Raised in Italy, Kobe Bryant was fluent in Italian, and also Spanish, and he'd utilize the languages during press conferences and in conversing with other players, such as Spain-born teammate Pau Gasol.
Bryant also exercised his language skills to trash-talk opponents. He told France's NBA Extra that he worked on his French specifically to get in the head of Belgium-born Spurs star Tony Parker. As he put it, "I used to love playing the San Antonio Spurs and saying something in French, that I won't repeat here, to Tony Parker."
Bryant kept up the practice after his playing days.
During a 2019 Lakers home game, Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks stood on the sideline, waiting for play to resume, when he heard somebody sitting court side speaking to him in Slovenian, his native tongue.
He told ESPN after the game, "I was like, 'Who's talking my language?
Then I saw Kobe.
I was really surprised.
What did he say? "I can't say that."
In March 2019, Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic told SportsCenter that one time on the court he heard Bryant sass him in his first language of Bosnian.
Kobe Bryant played his entire 20-season career for the Los Angeles Lakers but he was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets.
So how did he wind up in L.A.?
Bryant's agent, Arn Tellem, and Lakers general manager Jerry West reportedly conspired to make other NBA teams overlook Bryant.
They organized and then canceled workouts where team reps could watch him play and even spread rumors that he wasn't NBA material but West knew that Bryant was something special, and thought he could one day win titles alongside Shaquille O'Neal, a free agent in the summer of 1996, when Bryant was draft eligible.
Knowing he'd have to pay a fortune to secure superstar O'Neal, West had to make Bryant unattractive enough to push him out of the NBA Draft lottery, the first 12 slots and to where the salary demands wouldn't be as high.
The Charlotte Hornets had the 13th pick, and they were in such desperate need of a center that they didn't care much about Bryant.
Since the Lakers had center Vlade Divac to trade, the stage was set for a draft night gambit in which the Hornets would draft Bryant then trade him to the Lakers for Divac which is exactly what happened.
No one expects a larger-than-life figure like Kobe Bryant to die before their time.
So the world was shocked when TMZ reported on January 26, 2020, that the basketball legend's private helicopter had crashed, killing all 9 people on board, including Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Kobe himself was only 41 years old.
Kobe himself was only 41 years old. Bryant was an avid helicopter commuter who started using this novel transport method during his Lakers days. Unfortunately, this time something went terribly wrong.
According to eyewitnesses, the helicopter's engine had started "sputtering" before going down.
Kobe Bryant's time on Earth was far too short, and his Academy Award-winning work on the 2018 animated short Dear Basketball gave a hint that even after he left the court, he still had a lot to offer.
He was survived by his wife Vanessa and their three other daughters as well as a legacy of one of the best players in NBA history. Rest in peace, Kobe.