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Guard, Los Angeles Lakers

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

School: Lower Merion High School

Height: 6’6”

Experience: 20 Seasons

Draft: 1996, Round 1, No. 13 Overall

At just 18 years old, Kobe Bryant entered the league as an athletic, lean prospect with the lofty goal of becoming one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He didn't just meet and exceed those expectations—he redefined what it means to be a legend.

In 1997, the latter half of Bryant’s rookie season, the Los Angeles Lakers announced his arrival to the NBA in emphatic fashion, putting on a dunking display during the NBA Dunk Contest. Flexing his swagger and unwavering confidence with a series of highlight-reel dunks, Bryant won his first piece of NBA hardware and was crowned Dunk Contest Champion. This was the first of many accolades he’d go on to earn during his illustrious career.

As Bryant’s confidence grew, he wore the No. 8 with pride and continued to soar above the rim, becoming one of the Lakers’ franchise players alongside Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal. Even at an early age, Bryant was determined to chase his idol Michael Jordan and hoist not one, but several NBA Championship trophies. With Head Coach Phil Jackson at the helm, Bryant and O’Neal formed one of the greatest dynamic duos the sport had ever seen and rattled off three straight championships from 2000-2002.

After O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in the summer of 2004, Bryant took over as the team’s alpha, carrying the weight of the franchise on his shoulders. Pundits speculated if he could lead the team to another championship without the help of O’Neal, but Bryant’s next chapter was about to begin.

While the mid-2000s were filled with memorable moments, including winning MVP, Kobe’s sights were always set on championships. In the late 2000s, Kobe changed his number from No. 8 to No. 24 and joined forces with skilled big man Pau Gasol, ushering in a new era. It didn’t take long for the tandem to sync and share an unbreakable chemistry on and off the court. After seven years of trying to reclaim the Larry O’Brien Trophy, Bryant led the Lakers to back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010, cementing himself as one of the most decorated players of all-time.

Spanning 20 seasons, Kobe was an 18-time All-Star, four-time All-Star MVP, two-time Scoring Champion, 15-time All-NBA selection, 12-time All-Defense selection, 2008 League MVP, two-time Finals MVP, a five-time NBA Champion, and ranks fourth all-time on the NBA scoring list with 33,643 points, surpassing his idol Michael Jordan.

Kobe will forever be remembered as one of the greatest basketball players of all time and a once-in-a-generation athlete, but his lasting legacy will be how he inspired people globally.

BLACK MAMBA®, MAMBA™, KOBE BRYANT™, MAMBA MOMENTS™, Kobe Bryant’s signature, and the Kobe Sheath Logo are trademarks of Kobe Bryant, LLC, used with permission.