By Veronica An
We say goodbye to a legend, Kobe Bryant.
Bryant is considered one of the greatest players in NBA history and one of the NBA’s most recognizable figures. He declared for the 1996 draft after he finished high school and earned recognition by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Competition. Bryant was the highest scorer in Lakers team history and was chosen to start the All-Star Game for a record 18 consecutive appearances and 15 selections to an All-NBA team.
Bryant is known for his fade-away jump shot and fiercely competitive nature which he refers to as the “mamba mentality.” Bryant’s drive to excel in basketball has been commended as a game-changer for athletes across many different sports. His approach to basketball included focused preparation and detailed studies of his opponents. Combined with his passion for the game, the mamba mentality gave him the mental and physical stamina to play through injury and excel on the court.
Bryant played 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers and was the youngest player in league history (at age 34) to reach 30,000 career points. He was the third highest-scoring NBA player of all time and has five NBA titles, two Finals MVP Awards and two Olympic gold medals with Team USA (2008, 2012). He averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.
In 2015, Bryant announced his retirement from basketball via a poem in the Players’ Tribune. He founded Kobe Inc. to invest in the sports industry and partnered with Jeff Stibel to launch Bryant-Stibel, a venture capital firm. He will be posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2020.
Of course, Kobe Bryant was more than a legend on the basketball court and brief look back at his life cannot capture what he meant to his family and the millions of people he inspired.