Happy Birthday, Kobe
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Happy Birthday, Kobe

Kobe Bryant, one of the best basketball players of all time, if not the best, will celebrate his 39th birthday August 23. He spent his 20-year career in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the first guard to enter the NBA directly from high school, winning five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was an 18-time All-Star, a 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and a 12-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Team. Bryant was the NBA’s leading scorer for two seasons. He ranks third in NBA all-time regular season scoring and fourth in the NBA’s all-time post-season scoring. He holds the record in the NBA for the most seasons played with one franchise during a career.

Kobe Bryant Birthday

The son of Joe Bryant, a former NBA player, Kobe learned to played basketball when he was only three years. When Kobe was six, his father left the country to play in Italy, taking the whole family with him. Kobe grew up in Italy, learning to speak Italian fluently, but he returned to the U.S. to play basketball during summer, always with a loyalty to his favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe also played soccer while in Italy, with A.C. Milan as his favorite team.

The family moved back to the U.S. when Joe Bryant retired from playing basketball in 1991. Kobe played varsity basketball at the Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia. As a freshman, Kobe started for the team. During Kobe’s first year, Lower Merion finished with a dismal 4-20 record. They rebounded during the next three years, racking up a 77-13 record, with Kobe playing all five positions. He was named Pennsylvania’s Player of the Year during his junior year, averaging 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. During Kobe’s fourth year, Lower Merion won its first state championship, with Kobe averaging 30.8 points, 12 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4 steals, and 3.8 blocked shots.

Colleges clamored to recruit Kobe, given his outstanding high school record. Taking a cue from Kevin Garnett and his jump from high school to the professional leagues, however, Kobe set his sights on the NBA. Kobe was drafted 13th by the Hornets during the 1996 NBA Draft but was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe immediately made a name for himself during the Summer Pro League in 1996 in Long Beach, California. He played sparingly during his first year with the Lakers. Beginning in his second year, however, he was the starting guard on the team.

Kobe retired in 2016, but his dazzling career with the Lakers will not likely be forgotten for years to come. Those who want to honor their favorite team players, even after they have hung up their basketball shoes, can wear NBA team accessories or deck out their home, patio or car with NBA accessories.