Kobe Bean Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Named after a city in Japan, Bryant is the son of former NBA player Joe “Jellybean” Bryant. In 1984, after ending his NBA career, Joe Bryant took the family to Italy, where he played in the Italian League. Growing up in Italy alongside two athletic older sisters, Shaya and Sharia, Bryant was an avid player of both basketball and soccer. When the family returned to Philadelphia in 1991, Bryant joined the Lower Merion High School basketball team, leading them to the state championships four years in a row.
With an eye on the NBA, he also started working out with the 76ers.Kobe Bryant spent his early years in Italy and joined the NBA straight out of high school. A dominant scorer, Bryant won five NBA championships and the 2008 MVP Award with the Los Angeles Lakers. Although later seasons were marred by injuries, he surpassed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA all-time scoring list in December 2014 and retired in 2016 after scoring 60 points in his final game. In 2018, Bryant earned an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball. Kobe Bryant won five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers while establishing himself as one of the game’s all-time greats.
On January 26, 2020, Bryant was onboard a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter that crashed in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas. Nine people, including Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi,” died. The helicopter was on its way from Orange County to Thousands Oaks, California where Bryant was scheduled to coach a tournament game at Mamba Sports Academy.
“We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri,” Bryant’s wife Vanessa posted on Instagram. “There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.” On Friday February 7, 2020 ESPN will release a 96 page magazine to honor the life and legacy of #KobeBryant !