The Legendary Career of Kobe Bryant
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The Legendary Career of Kobe Bryant

The recently retired Kobe Bryant’s birthday falls on the 23rd of August. His legacy in the National Basketball Association started when he was drafted in 1996 by the Charlotte Hornets then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he played his entire career.

Legendary Career of Kobe Bryant

That first season, Bryant struggled to make an impact on the league. He started to gain attention after winning the 1997 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. After that, Bryant started to get more play time and developed his skills to become the great player that he’s known for today.

Bryant formed a dysfunctional yet productive partnership with another NBA superstar in a center, Shaquille O’Neal and won NBA championship three times in a row from 2000 to 2002 against the Indiana Pacers, the Philadelphia 76’ers, and the New Jersey Nets. Although Bryant and O’Neal would wage a feud against each other by trading barbs and who should be the acknowledged leader of the Lakers, there was no question that both players worked hard and played like leaders to win those championships. They had one last chance at winning together, but they lost to the heavy underdogs, the Detroit Pistons, in 2004.

With three championships under his belt, Bryant would have to wait until 2008 to get back in the finals. But this time, it was against the Lakers fiercest rivals of all time, the winningest team in the league, the Boston Celtics. Bryant would suffer his second loss in the finals in six games as the Celtics routed the Lakers 131-92. Bryant would use this loss as a building block to gain his competitive spirit back.

The results were tremendous as Bryant won two more titles in 2009 and 2010 against the Orlando Magic and avenging his 2008 loss to the Celtics in seven games. This was the last title Bryant won.

Aside from the five championships, Bryant won the Most Valuable Player Award in 2008, was the NBA finals MVP in 2009 and 2010, was the league’s scoring champion twice in 2006 and 2007, was a 15 time All-NBA member, was a 12 time All-Defensive team member, and won four All-star MVP awards.

Enshrined in people's memory are the awards and achievements, and people will watch his slam dunks over and over, but what sets Bryant apart from the rest was his competitive spirit which was second to none.