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Famous Like Me > Actor > B > Kobe Bryant

Profile of Kobe Bryant on Famous Like Me

Name: Kobe Bryant  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 23rd August 1978
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Kobe Dean Bryant (born August 23, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a National Basketball Association player for the Los Angeles Lakers; he is also the son of former NBA player Joe "Jellybean" Bryant.

Early Life

Bryant spent much of his childhood in Italy, where his father played professional basketball. Consequently, he speaks fluent Italian. Bryant entered the NBA at the age of eighteen after a spectacular high school career in the Philadelphia suburb of Lower Merion. He was originally selected 13th by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1996 NBA Draft, but they traded him on July 11, 1996 to the Los Angeles Lakers for center Vlade Divac. Though young and somewhat introverted, Bryant's immense talent made an immediate impression with his teammates on the practice court.

He married Vanessa Laine on April 18, 2001 in Dana Point, California and their daughter Natalia Diamante was born on January 19, 2003. His parents initially disapproved of the marriage, because of his young age, but have reconciled with Bryant. Kobe is one of many athletes with jungle fever.

NBA Career

Bryant's career trajectory as an NBA player out of high school has been exceptional. By the age of 24, Bryant had already won many individual accolades, from inclusion in the All-NBA teams and a seven time selection as a NBA All-Star. Bryant, along with former teammate Shaquille O'Neal, helped lead the Lakers as perennial championship contenders, resulting in three consecutive NBA championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002. The Lakers also ventured to the 2004 Finals against the Detroit Pistons, but lost the series four games to one. Following the loss to the Pistons, Bryant opted out of his contract to test the free agent market. After flirting with the idea of joining several teams, including the Lakers' cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Clippers, he signed a new seven-year deal with the Lakers worth over $136 million on July 15, 2004.

Bryant's looks and accomplishments on and off the basketball court made him one of the most popular and marketable players. He became a spokesperson for major corporations such as McDonald's and Coca-Cola. He had an exclusive apparel and shoe deal with Adidas and he is currently under contract with Nike.

Much of Kobe Bryant's meteoric rise to NBA super stardom is attributed to his consummate work ethic. In each of his years in the league, Kobe showed improvement in all areas of his game, from shooting to strength to defense. On-court he is a very composed and competitive player with impressive concentration, able to deliver the toughest and clutch shots at the times most needed. It is these attributes that have made him a premier player in the NBA.

Controversy and Trial

Kobe Bryant is, however, open to a lot of criticism spawning from what critics consider a collection of personality flaws. Detractors have branded Bryant a selfish, egotistic player who pads his own achievements at the expense of his team. These criticisms came under great discussion following sexual assault allegations stemming from his June 2003 encounter with Katelyn Faber in a Vail, Colorado hotel room. Consequently, Bryant's squeaky-clean image was tarnished considerably.

Although these charges were eventually dropped in the fall of 2004 (a civil suit followed but has since been settled as well), Bryant's tarnished image continued to swan dive. Furthering Bryant's blemished reputation was the public rift through the Laker core of O'Neal, coach Phil Jackson, and him. In well documented episodes throughout their careers together on the Lakers, mainly over leadership of the team, O'Neal and Bryant have feuded in dramatic fashion. The 2000-era Lakers were built around the dominant center in O'Neal but Bryant seemed to tire of his formal role as "second fiddle" on the team. The two (Bryant and O'Neal) would often launch jarring verbal attacks at each other, beginning with O'Neal's allegations of Bryant as a greedy ball-hog and Bryant's maligning of O'Neal as "fat." While both parties' evaluations of each other were not far removed from the truth, their much-publicized feud quickly became must-see news items, tantamount to a hypnotizing soap opera, in the sports world. Kobe likes to play basketball particularly in da rain

Bryant's prodigious talent, coupled with his immense ego, led him to clash with coach Jackson. While offensively efficient in Jackson's "triangle offense," Bryant had a personal distaste for Jackson's brand of ball and subsequently called it "boring." In games, Bryant would often disregard the set offense completely to experiment with his own one-on-one moves, incensing the normally calm Jackson. Bryant managed to test Jackson's patience enough that the "Zen Master" demanded a Bryant trade, although Laker management rejected the request. When Bryant's coaching contract ran out following the 2003-04 season and the Lakers failed to produce a championship despite sporting, in addition to O'Neal and Bryant, hall-of-fame caliber players in Karl Malone and Gary Payton, Jackson was not invited back to coach the team. Many fans attributed Jackson's departure directly to Bryant, whom Laker owner Dr. Jerry Buss championed. Buss also seemed determined to facilitate Shaq's departure from L.A., perhaps because he feared not being able to resign the younger Bryant. Bryant was a free agent and O'Neal had two more years of record-breakingly high pay left on his contract.

For these reasons, many basketball fans have blamed Bryant for the break-up of the Lakers' dynasty after a one-sided 2004 Finals loss to the Detroit Pistons. Shaquille O'Neal was hastily traded to the Miami Heat, resulting in a complete overhaul of the Laker roster, with Kobe Bryant as its centerpiece. Bryant re-signed with the Lakers for the veteran maximum salary after a surprisingly long flirtation with the Lakers' perennially disappointing suitemates, the Los Angeles Clippers. Bryant's first chance at the helm of a team would be a very rocky one, however. With his reputation already badly damaged from the proceedings in Colorado, Bryant was closely scrutinized and criticized in the 2004-05 NBA season. The first salvo came from Phil Jackson in the hastily published The Last Season: A Team in Search of its Soul. The book detailed the sordid events of the Lakers' tumultuous 2003–04 season and hurled numerous harsh criticisms of Bryant. Along with other unsavory adjectives, Jackson called Bryant "uncoachable." Then, midway through the season, Rudy Tomjanovich suddenly resigned as Lakers coach, citing the recurrence of health problems and exhaustion (although many speculated that Tomjanovich, a two-time NBA champion coach, had despaired of getting his offense to work with the Lakers' depleted and bickering personnel). Without "Rudy T," stewardship of the remainder of the Lakers' season fell to career assistant coach Frank Hamblen.

The feud between Bryant and O'Neal also extended beyond the West Coast. Motivated to win a ring without Bryant, O'Neal slimmed down after his arrival in Miami and proceeded to poke at Bryant's chops by refusing to call his former teammate by name, referring to Bryant only as "him" or "that guy." Shaquille was also visibly upset when transcripts of Bryant's police interrogations became public; Bryant had told investigators that O'Neal had paid large sums of money to numerous women when the former Laker center was faced with similar situations as Bryant's in the past. O'Neal retorted by stating, "I'm not the one buying love," referring to the $4 million dollar ring Bryant bought for his wife as a gift of contrition after the rape charges surfaced. On the court, the two barely acknowledged each other, even in nationally broadcast games. Their feud culminated in marquee regular season match-ups dubbed "Kobe v. Shaq." Both times, the Heat came out on top (helped by the emergence of second-year superstar Dwyane Wade), and was overall the better team in the regular season, owning the best record in the Eastern Conference (59-23) and sweeping playoff opponents before losing in a thrilling seven-game Eastern Conference Finals to the Pistons. The Lakers, on the other hand, stumbled to a 34-48 record, sending themselves out of the playoffs and into the NBA Draft Lottery for only the second time in 11 years. The conflict between O'Neal and Bryant will undoubtedly continue into the future, as followers of basketball wait in anticipation to see whether Bryant can turn Miami-Los Angeles into a genuine rivalry for team success. At this point, the Heat have added new veteran players and seem ready to make another long playoff run.


Kobe has a massive bout of rebuilding ahead in both his personal and basketball life. In the middle of the 04-05 season, Bryant publicly admitted that leading a team was much harder than he had expected. His basketball achievements regressed, as he failed to make All-NBA First Team and Defensive Team for the first time in 3 and 2 years, respectively. He also had trouble with some of his teammates, although these were less widely publicized than those with O'Neal. In particular, Lamar Odom appeared frustrated with Kobe's insatiable need to dominate ball-handling time and shot attempts. On court, Bryant had trouble finding any rhythm and at many times the Lakers' losing ways appeared to disgust and frustrate him. There are those who believe Kobe learned something from this adversity and hope he will tackle the next season with a new sense of zeal. So far, however, the Lakers have added no players likely to command enough of Kobe's respect to tempt him to relinquish some of his stranglehold on the offense. Most of the media attention the Lakers are receiving centers around Kobe's reunion with Phil Jackson after a one-year hiatus. Despite Jackson's slams of Kobe in "The Last Season," both declared they had buried past differences for the upcoming reunion tour. Jackson will be seeking his own redemption, as he hopes for the Lakers' performance to answer dual charges against his legacy. The first charge, often (jealously?) reiterated by former Celtics coaching legend Red Auerbach, is that Jackson's uninterrupted success has come exclusively at the helm of teams with overwhelming talent which automatically made them top contenders for league championships. The second is that Phil lost interest in coaching the Lakers through their personality differences in 2004, and later scapegoated Kobe to distract from his own passivity. Business matters have been an area where Kobe's future is beginning to look up a bit, with Nike using him for a Sports Illustrated campaign that represented his first print ads in two years.


  • Three time NBA champion: 2000, 2001, 2002
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP: 2002
  • NBA All-Star: 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • All-NBA First Team: 2002, 2003, 2004
  • All-NBA Second Team: 2000, 2001
  • All-NBA Third Team: 2005
  • All-NBA Defensive First Team: 2000, 2003, 2004
  • All-NBA Defensive Second Team: 2001, 2002
  • NBA Slam Dunk Champion: 1997
  • Co-holds NBA record for most made 3-point field goals in one game with 12 versus the Seattle SuperSonics on January 7, 2003.
  • Co-holds NBA record for most consecutive made 3-point field goals in one game with 9, and he shares the NBA record for most consecutive made 3-point field goals in one half with 8 (both came during the same game as above).
  • Youngest player to score 10,000 points in his career (24 years, 193 days), set March 5, 2003, vs. the Indiana Pacers.
  • One of only three players in NBA history to score 40-plus points in 9 consecutive games.
  • Named the 1996 Naismith High School Player of the Year.
  • Led Lower Merion H.S. to a 31-3 record, including 27 straight wins, and the PIAA Class AAAA state title as a senior (1996).
  • USA Today and Parade Magazine's 1996 National High School Player of the Year with a seasonal average of 30.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4.0 steals and 3.8 blocks per game.


  • Bryant is named after a Japanese restaurant called Kobe in Philadelphia that serves, among other things, Kobe beef. However, he pronounces his name /ko-bi/ unlike the Japanese pronunciation /kô-beh/.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Kobe Bryant