-Kobe Bryant attending Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania during the 1995-96 season.
-Kobe Bryant was selected to play in the prestigious McDonald’s All-American game in 1995; Which is given out to the most talented high school seniors in the nation.
– The kid was drafted 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft. Straight out of high school to the New Orleans Hornets. Later that night, Kobe was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
-A year later, a 19 year old Kobe Bryant won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
-After a solid rookie year campaign and a few major additions to the Laker dynasty, Kobe went onto ‘3peat’, winning three consecutive championships between 2000-2002. Facing the likes of the Indiana Pacers, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the New Jersey Nets.
-Then 2004 came. A feud over Shaq and Kobe’s roles on the team lit fire in a relationship of two dominant Lakers. This lead to the trading of Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat and the re-signing of Kobe Bryant via free agency. All was not good from there though, Kobe and the Lakers didn’t make the playoffs the year they traded Shaq. Kobe also experienced a handful of sub-500 seasons between 2005 and 2006.
-But then some players were added. The Lakers drafted 7-footer Andrew Bynum in the 2005 NBA Draft and made a blockbuster trade with the Memphis Grizzlies to get Pau Gasol 2 years later. With these two, Kobe went onto win back-to-back NBA championships in 2008 and 2009. Beating the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic respectively. His 5th NBA title against Orlando would be his last.
-During a 17-year period, Kobe Bryant participated in the annual NBA All-Star game. Receiving the MVP award 4 times.
-On December 14th, 2014, Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the all-time NBA scoring list with 32,293 points versus the Minnesota Timberwolves.
-I know there was some stuff I didn’t cover but we’d be here all day (like that 81-point performance against a sorry Toronto Raptors team). Most of my time watching Kobe I hated him but I always respected him. He announced his retirement yesterday and believe it or not I got a little sad inside. The NBA will miss this great competitor and 5-time champion. I wonder what he’ll do next…
Credits: Youtube.com (For the video). BleacherReport, SBnation, and NBA.com (For the photos).