Professional basketball player, Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. A high school student, Kobe Bryant was quickly spotted by recruiters from the NBA, the professional American league, for his agility with the ball in hand. Transferred to the Los Angeles Lakers, the one who will soon be nicknamed Black Mamba becomes in 1996 the youngest player in history to participate in an NBA game.
Twenty years later, Kobe Bryant sees his name displayed in the pantheon of the greatest basketball players, alongside Michael Jordan, the star of the Chicago Bulls from whom he was enormously inspired to shape his game.
He died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, January 26. He was 41 years old. He will always be remembered and cherished in the hearts of basketball lovers across the Globe, for his memorable shots.
A look back at the 15 highlights that marked his legendary career:
1996 – ARRIVAL IN THE NBA
Kobe Bryant was not even 18 when he participated in the Draft in 1996. He was selected 13th position His rights had however already been transferred to the Los Angeles Lakers, the team of his dreams, who had just acquired a new player from the Orlando Magic in the person of Shaquille O’Neal.
1997 – THE STAR OF THE SLAM DUNK CONTEST
Kobe Bryant, who is still just a rookie (first season in the NBA), won his very first NBA trophy in the 1997 All-Star Game after the Slam Dunk Contest. His dunk, passing the ball between his legs, received the ovation from the public.
1998 – PASSING THE BATON AGAINST MICHAEL JORDAN
Kobe Bryant is selected for the All-Star Game in his second NBA season. The event takes place in the lair of Madison Square Garden in New York and quickly becomes the passing match between the Lakers rough diamond and the best player of all time, Michael Jordan, who is then playing his last season with the Chicago Bulls.
2000 – THE LIGHT PASS AT SHAQ
The pressure is at its peak. Tied, three games everywhere, in the Western Conference final, the Lakers are 15 points behind the start of the last quarter time against the Portland Trail Blazers, more than the best comeback in the history of ” Game 7 “(six points) so far. It was then that Los Angeles, under the impetus of Shaquille O’Neal, began a crazy comeback by scoring 15 consecutive points without taking a single one. In front of four small points 46 seconds from the end of the match, in an overcrowded Staples Center, Kobe Bryant rushes towards the basketball in hand and delivers a beautiful lobed pass to Shaquille O’Neal. The stadium explodes. Los Angeles won the match and won the Finals against the Pacers for the first title of the O’Neal / Bryant duo.
2002 – MVP OF THE ALL-STAR GAME IN PHILADELPHIA
Double NBA champion with the Lakers, Kobe Bryant made a breathtaking match in the 2002 All-Star Game by scoring 31 points in addition to his five rebounds and five assists. A performance that earned him the title of MVP of the meeting. But during the presentation of his trophy, he will be copiously booed by the public of Philadelphia, the city where he did his high school. The reason? His team notably eliminated the Sixers in 2001 during the NBA Finals.
2003 – 3 POINT RECORD
Kobe Bryant catches fire behind the three-point line against the Seattle Supersonics and records a record number (which still stands today and which he shares with Donyell Marshall) of 12 long-distance baskets, including nine in a row (also a record NBA). He finished the game with 45 points, and the victory (119-98).
2004 – ONLY MASTER ON BOARD
The Los Angeles Lakers decide to transfer Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat, at the same time deciding to entrust the future of the franchise to Kobe Bryant. The official reason is that the club and the pivot failed to agree on the amount of their new contract. But the open war, which was played behind the scenes between O’Neal and Kobe Bryant for several years, is certainly not unrelated either.
2005 – STRONGER THAN DALLAS
Fairly upset when his team scored only 74 points in the previous game, Kobe Bryant takes matters into his own against the Dallas Mavericks and scores 62 points in just three-quarter times, more than the total of the opposing team (61 points). With the Lakers in the lead, he won’t be playing for a minute in this game.
2006 – ANTHOLOGY PERFORMANCE
A little more than a month after the meeting against Dallas, Kobe Bryant turns into an alien from another galaxy by driving 81 points in the gums of the Toronto Raptors (and this with more than 60% success in shots please). A thermonuclear performance that allows him to be the author of the 2 e best performance to the brand after the untouchables 100 points of Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.
2007 – THE SCORING MACHINE
Who can stop Kobe? That year, the Lakers’ backstroke went on four consecutive games with 50 points or more. Yes Yes. You heard right: 65 points against Portland, then 50 against Minnesota, 60 against Memphis and 50 against the Hornets. Curtain.
2008 – MVP OF THE LEAGUE … FINALLY!
This remains an anomaly in his career. And a huge injustice. But 2008 was the only time Kobe Bryant won the NBA MVP trophy after the regular season. Stratospheric the previous two seasons, the poor performance of his team – eliminated twice in the 1 st round of the playoffs – not foreign to this error in the history of the NBA.
2009 – A VERY CLOSED CLUB
In the NBA Finals’ first game against the Orlando Magic, Kobe Bryant multiplies and ends the match with a breathtaking stat line: 40 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, as well as an interception and two blocks. A performance which then allows him to join Michael Jordan, Jerry West, and Shaquille O’Neal as the only authors of a 40/8/8 match during the NBA Finals. A rather closed club.
2010 – BEST SCORER IN LAKERS HISTORY
Kobe Bryant becomes the best marker in the history of the Lakers after a dunk which allows him to pass in front of the legendary Jerry West (the player who serves as a logo for the NBA). A special moment in the playing career.
2010 – THE 5TH CORONATION
Kobe Bryant won his 5th title after an epic battle in the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. It’s one more title than Shaquille O’Neal, and one less than Michael Jordan.
2014 – KOBE BRYANT OVERTAKES JORDAN
It is on two free throws that Kobe Bryant will eventually overtake Michael Jordan on the list of best scorers in NBA history. A performance was fraught with meaning and emotion for this player who grew up idolizing his elder.