Once Kobe and his family returned to Philadelphia, he enrolled at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Philadelphia. From there, his career in basketball flourished. In his first year he became the first freshman to start for the varsity basketball team in decades. Bryant continued to play at Lower Merion and by his junior year, he averaged 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. From this, Bryant was named Pennsylvania’s Player of the Year. Throughout high school, Kobe continued to receive National Player of the Year awards and even broke the southeastern Pennsylvania scoring record with 2,883 points.
After high school, Bryant declared himself eligible for the NBA draft and decided to play professional right after high school. In 1996, the Charlotte Hornets of North Carolina chose him. Not much long after, they traded Kobe to the Lakers and he became the second youngest NBA player in history as of the 1996-97 season. And once he proved his merit, Kobe was selected for the NBA All-Star Game in his second season and he set another record, this time it being the youngest All-Star player in history. And with the popular and talented Shaquille O’Neal as a teammate, the two of them became a remarkable combination and won the Lakers three consecutive NBA championships.
Stated by the Editors of Encyclopaedia, “Bryant led the league in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons, and in 2008 he was named the league’s MVP for the first time in his career. Bryant won his fourth NBA title in 2009, and he was named the finals MVP after averaging a stellar 32.4 points per game in the series.” And in the 2009-10 season, Bryant led the Lakers to their third straight Western Conference championship. In addition, they named Bryant the NBA finals MVP once again after the win against the Boston Celtics.
In April 2013, Bryant ruptured his Achilles tendon that caused him to miss the rest of the season. He tried to return to the court later that year in December but soon fractured his kneecap and missed that season as well. The next season in 2014-15, Bryant decided to continue playing but was injured again from tearing his rotator cuff in January. Although, in December 2014, Kobe surpassed Michael Jordan and became third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list but, Bryant retired following the last regular-season game of the 2015-16 season.
On August 24, 2008 Bryant won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics as a basketball player on the United State’s basketball team. Four years later, Bryant won another Olympic medal at the 2012 games in London.
After retiring in 2016, Bryant announced the launch of Kobe Studios, now known as Granity Studios, a multimedia original content company. He released the movie Dear Basketball in 2017 which won Bryant an Oscar for Academy Award for Best Short Film in 2018. Also released in 2018 was Mamba Mentality, a novel series written by Bryant. All throughout retirement Bryant also supported and created many charity organizations.
On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bean Bryant and one of his four daughters, Gianna Bryant, were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Eight people were involved in the accident and it left no survivors. Tragically, Kobe ended his legacy at 41 years old.