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20 Things You Never Knew About Kobe Bryant (RIP MVP)

Kobe Bryant Photo credit: Kobe Bryant was an American basketball player, and professional athlete for the NBA. Although he recently retired, Kobe has left behind a sports legacy that won’t be matched for lifetimes. He’s set records, broken records, created a brand, made a platform, and became a major idol to youth today. As a celebrity, Kobe’s life is out there, wide open for the world to see. You may feel like you know all there is to know about the all star, but we bet you had no clue about these little tidbits. See for yourself on this list of Kobe Bryant highlights.

1) Lakers Until the End

Lakers Until the End Photo credit: Talk about loyalty. Kobe’s entire career was with one team and one team only: The Lakers. He’s the very first player ever to accomplish that level of loyalty in the NBA and he went on to win 5 championships with them. The only downfall that came from this is that Kobe’s actual hometown, Philly, became his worst haters. He didn’t exactly make the situation any better, though, when he claimed that the Laker would home and destroy Philly until there was nothing left.

2) Last Game

Last Game Photo credit: Kobe is known for his many, many accomplishments. His career will live on as a legacy that will probably never be matched or surpassed. And Kobe Bryant stats will be numbers for the books. But did you know that his very last game was a high 60 pointer? It was considered one of the highest end games in the league and was also the sixth time Bryant had done it in his 20 season career. When you’re as good as Kobe you better go out with a bang. Go big or go home, right?

3) Almost a Soccer Star

Almost a Soccer Star Photo credit: Kobe Bryant actually grew up in Italy. Go figure! He spent eight long years his childhood, and even some of his high school years, there where he grew a fondness for soccer. He played in the little leagues and, to no surprise of his parents, was actually an amazing soccer player. He had every intention of taking it to the next level and going pro before his parents moved him to the states and he found basketball. He’s claimed in many interviews that if he had to choose between the two sports, basketball or soccer, he’d probably pick the latter.

4) Better Than Jordan

Better Than Jordan Photo credit: We all know who Michael Jordan is, right? He’s one of the best basketball players of all time. He coined his very own sneaker line with Nike, which is one of the highest grossing line of active footwear to date. Nike is still continuing to release new designs and the endorsement contract is one of the highest paid to an athlete in all of sports history. But we bet you had no idea that Kobe Bryant actually scored more points throughout his career than Jordan did. Yep, that’s right. Bryant is better than Jordan.

5) Stick to B-Ball

Stick to B-Ball Photo credit: Sadly, even the greatest athletes have their weak spots and apparently music is Kobe’s. For some ungodly reason, Sony Records signed a deal with the NBA star back in 2000. Perhaps is was a publicity stunt to try and cash in on his newly scented success, or maybe Kobe was the one who engaged it. Regardless, they planned to release a whole CD of Bryant rapping to tunes about basketball, beats, and babes, but after the first single dropped like a poorly executed joke, so did the whole deal. Fans were not digging it at all.

6) Close Encounter with a Hornet

Encounter with a Hornet Photo credit: Drafted right out of high school, Kobe Bryant was actually originally assigned to the Hornets. But just two weeks later, right before his first game, Kobe was traded to the Lakers in exchange for Vlade Divac. Bet they regret that now. Who the heck is Vlade Divac, anyhow? This is a classic case of poor judgement and major regrets.

7) Where’s the Beef?

the Beef Photo credit: For some reason, Kobe’s father had a liking for beef. And not just any beef. It was a special Japanese cut called the Kobe Beef and was one of the most expensive things on the menu the day his father picked out his name. Hence, Kobe Bryant. Joe Bryant and his wife were dining out one evening while deciding what boy names would suit their son, when they picked up the menu and saw the odd name. They immediately agreed that is was perfect. Bet Kobe wishes they gave it a second thought.

8) Sued for the Name

Sued for the Name Photo credit: Obviously, Kobe absolutely despised being associated with a cut of meat. He hated it so much that after his career took off he hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit against the Japanese town of Kobe for full rights to the name which would result in the whole town having to change theirs as well as the special cut. Well, come on. Would you want to be associated with a flank of red meat? Probably not. Bet Kobe hated going to Japan for press releases. In the end, Kobe had a pretty slick lawyer and they won the case. Not sure what the town’s name has been changed to, but Kobe’s probably pretty pleased with himself.

9) Italian Tongue

Italian Tongue Photo credit: Kobe grew up in Italy and spent years living there. As a result, he picked up the language and is now considered bilingual and fluent in Italian. As if the tall, dark, and handsome star basketball player needed any further ammo to woo the ladies and win their hearts. All he has to do is speak some sweet Italian and they’re putty in his hands.

10) A Date with Brandy

Date with Brandy Photo credit: Remember your high school prom? Uncomfortable outfit, pimply face, borrowed your mom’s car or worse…got a ride with your mom. Was your date a catch or were they your cousin? Well, prepare to feel even worse about your high school prom experience when you find out who Kobe Bryant took to his. Yep, none other than hip hop star Brandy. He even went on to appear on her show Moesha, a teen flick, as a pro basketball player. This just seems like a match made in heaven. Wonder why it never worked out?

11) Points, Baby

Points Baby Photo credit: Mr. Bryant scored the most points by a single player in one game since 1962 which was by Wilt chamberlain for the Philadelphia Warriors. Although Wilt scored an impressive 100-point game, Kobe’s high point game in 2006 was with 81 points. This makes him in second place, a spot that no one has even come remotely close to touching since.

12) Young Talent

Young Talent Photo credit: He worked his whole life for his dream; being a professional athlete. Day and night, he practised. Never missed a game. His hard work quickly paid off because Kobe Bryant was the very first guard to be drafted into the NBA straight out of high school. That’s more than what any of today’s youth can say. Actually, that probably more than yesterdays’ youth can say.

13) A Series of Firsts

Series of Firsts Photo credit: Not only is Kobe the first player in the NBA to play all 20 seasons with the exact same team, no trades whatsoever, but he’s also the first guard to ever play 20 seasons, period. That’s quite impressive considering that NBA players get passed around more than a hot potato.

14) Child Prodigy

Child Prodigy Photo credit: Much like most big stars, the talent has to come from somewhere. Kobe’s dad, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, was also a professional basketball player. He spent eight years playing for the American league with three different teams before moving back to Italy and finishing his career with seven more season. That’s some good blood there.

15) Olympic Medalist

Olympic Medalist Photo credit: In 2008 and again in 2012, Kobe Bryant played on the US National Team in the Summer Olympics. He proudly brought home two gold medals for basketball and considers it one of his greatest accomplishments to date.

16) What’s in a Middle Name

Middle Name Photo credit: Someone needs to talk to Kobe’s dad about picking names. Not only did he name his poor son after a cut of raw meat but he also gave him a middle name that would embarrass anyone. Bean. Yep, Kobe Bean Bryant, named thusly after a cut of expensive Japanese beef as well as the athletic nickname of his father, Jellybean. Sigh. Geez, Dad. Mean much? It’s a wonder Kobe didn’t legally change his name the moment he was able to.

17) Ups and Downs

Ups and Downs Photo credit: Like the law of physics states; what goes up must come down. And you can’t have as many wins and accomplishments as Kobe has without the losses to balance it all out. While Bryant currently sits as one of the highest scoring players in all of the NBA, he’s also ranked for the player with the most missed shots in all of NBA history. Yikes. He seems to keep his head up, though. And why not? With that many wins, who cares about the losses? You take the good with the bad and any professional athlete should understand that.

18) Early Retirement

Early Retirement Photo credit: Kobe retired in 2016 after spending 20 whole seasons playing in the NBA. Some snivel their noses and give him flack for being able to retire so early in life, but Kobe dedicated more than half of his existence to the game of basketball. He’s won championships, broken records, set records, and is an idol for little boys (and girls) everywhere. How about we just say his early retirement is very well deserved? After all, the career life expectancy of a professional athlete is estimated to be anywhere from 10-15 years. So for Kobe to get drafted in his teens and retire in his thirties sounds about right.

19) Not So Spoiled

Not So Spoiled Photo credit: A lot of people, people who don’t really read articles or do their research, say that Kobe Bryant is a spoiled little rich kid. A bratty only child. But those haters would be quite surprised to find out that Bryant actually has two sisters, Shaya and Sharia. He states that his upbringing was the total opposite of spoiled living, and it’s why he turned to sports in the first place; to get away from his annoying sisters. It was something he could bond with his father over, and also something that his sister couldn’t take from him. They may have gotten the last ice cream cone but he got the last laugh.

20) One Good Thing

One Good Thing Photo credit: Remember the record deal with Sony? Yeah, the one that completely failed before it even left the ground? Well, at least one good thing came of it. While at the studio recording some tracks one day, Kobe took a break to go check out a music video being filmed. One of the backup dancers caught his eye. Her name was Vanessa, and now her name is Vanessa Laine Bryant. Yep, that’s right. Kobe Bryant met his wife, a former dancer, while recording a hip op album. True Legend, Father, and Hero. We will miss you Kobe. (1978-2020) Rest in Peace.
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