On the 26th of January, 2020, Kobe Bryant tragically passed away due to a helicopter crash together with seven other passengers on board, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. Bryant was one of the biggest pioneers of the game, as he brought upon a new sense of flashiness with his outstanding shooting. His mad skills and dedication to the game on the basketball court, was a dream to watch. His determination and resiliency will never be matched by any other player. Here are 11 things you didn’t know about the Legend.
1. The origin of his name
Born August 23 1978, Kobe’s original middle name had been ‘bean’ decided upon by his parents as his father’s nickname was Jelly Bean. This however, cannot be found on either his birth certificates or any official documents as it was never properly recorded. His other name ‘Kobe’ on the other hand had an interesting origin. Kobe is actually the name of a city in Japan. His mother and father loved Kobe beef so much, that upon looking at a menu from a restaurant, they decided that was to be their boy’s name.
2. His celebrity prom date.
Most people tend to just take a friend or a girlfriend to their high school prom, not Kobe, during the essence awards in 96, Kobe Bryant met popular R&B singer Brandy Norwood, and Kobe asked Brandi to attend his prom with him as his date. She said yes.
3. Changing his number from 33 to 8
Throughout Brian’s high school career he’d wear the number 33. This quickly changed once he entered the NBA, the reason being that this was the number he wore in Italy, which we’ll get to next, and it represented the shirt he’d wear at Adidas camp.
4. Little Italy meets big Kobe.
Not many people know that Kobe Bryant actually grew up in Italy. Kobe spent most of his early years in Italy after his father decided to retire and bring his family along. Because he wanted to fit-in in high school, he taught himself Italian and was eventually able to speak it fluently. He’d also use this skill to communicate with his teammates during games.
5. Kobe scandals
Throughout Brian’s entire career, he had one major scandal against him. This being a sexual assault case in 2003, with a 19 year old employee at the lodge and spa Cordillera, a hotel in Edwards, Colorado. She accused Kobe of rape and later brought the case to court where Kobe admitted to an adulterous encounter with the employee but denied the assault allegation. Eventually a settlement was agreed on outside of court.
6. Kobe Bryant had an interest in Music
At some point, Kobe wasn’t too pleased with being the NBA next big star, so he sought to become a rapper he’d perform in rap battles at clubs from time to time and was signed with the label Sony Entertainment. His album was also set for release, but his first single never came out. When Beyonce was still with Destiny’s Child, they did a music video for “Bug A Boo” that actually features Bryant. Bryant appears in the video as himself.
7. Kobe Bryant’s Wife Left High School Because Of Him
It was love at first sight when Kobe Bryant spotted his future wife to be. Bryant was a well-known star when he first saw Vanessa, who was an extra in a hip hop video that was led by Snoop Dogg. He had started romancing her and sending her flowers to her high school. She was only 17 years old at the time. TV crews arrived at Vanessa’s high school, Marina High School, and when Kobe announced he was engaged, things got so crazy that Vanessa had to finish her studies privately being home schooled. It was well worth it though, as they ended up with a very long marriage that included four children. Kobe went on to be a dedicated husband and Father.
8. Some of Kobe’s highlights.
Kobe has definitely had a memorable career guaranteeing him a spot as one of the best NBA players. Just a few of these highlights would be being the first man to achieve a total of 30,000 points and 6000 assists scoring a career high of 81 points in a single game on January 22, 2006 against the Toronto Raptors scoring 50 plus points in four consecutive games. Even with such success in game, Kobe Bryant had always been exceptionally hard working, and knew that when his basketball days were over, he would continue working just as hard. In 2013, he co-founded Bryant Stibel, a venture capital firm, together with the founder of Web.com, Jeff Stibel. The company has assets worth more than $2 billion, as it invested in a lot of technology, data and media companies.
9. His first impression of Michael Jordan.
Most people would stumble over their words when first meeting Michael Jordan, but Kobe isn’t like most. When he first encountered MJ before a game between the LA Lakers and the Chicago Bulls, Kobe stated “you know I could kick your ass one on one” which just goes to show that he was determined to be the best.
10. Kobe Bryant Changed the World of Sneakers
Although Michael Jordan had a huge impact in the world of basketball shoes (everybody who was anybody had to have a pair of Jordan’s back in the ‘90s), Kobe Bryant changed professional sports sneakers for good. Kobe created minimalist, low-silhouette footwear that wasn’t as flashy as previous sneakers, or boasted a high top. Many NBA stars followed suit and started to wear the lighter, quicker style of sneakers which freed their moves on the hardwood of the NBA courts. This occurred relatively quickly after Kobe Bryant left Adidas and signed a four year deal with Nike worth millions. He motivated Nike to create shoes for basketball that were both sleek and safe to use on the basketball court and they listened to him, all the way.
11. Kobe Had an Incredible Work Ethic
Kobe was one of the best players the game had ever seen, because he put in so much hard work behind the scenes. He was known in the industry for his incredible work ethic, and couldn’t understand nor approve of lazy people. Examples of his work ethic included playing left-handed because of a right shoulder injury, losing 16 pounds for the Olympics in 2012 to keep his knees pain-free, and being very strict about what he ate. Besides all these things, Kobe also cold-called people (like Oprah Winfrey), involved in business, as well as entrepreneurs, so he could understand and learn all their insider secrets to achievement. He once even worked out for 7 hours straight, not leaving until he had achieved 800 shots.
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