Kobe grew up basketball in Italy, where he learned the European fundamentals of the game. He returned to the United States at the age of 13 and enrolled at Lower Marion High School, with which he won the national title. In 1996, not yet eighteen, he made himself eligible for the NBA Draft without passing college, rejecting the enticements of famous universities such as Kentucky and Duke.
Kobe made his NBA debut on November 13, 1996 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but without messing with the scoresheet under the heading “points”. Bryant’s playing time has grown steadily throughout the season, also thanks to his victory in the Slam Dunk Contest in February. He closes the regular season with an average of 7.6 points per game in 15.5 minutes played. At the end of the year, despite a far from glitzy performance in the 4-1 post-season loss to Utah, he was the youngest player ever to join the All-Rookie Second Team.
In the following season Kobe doubled his points average and increased his minutes, reaching 15.4 points per game, scoring more than 30 points in a game for the first time. The Los Angeles Lakers qualified for the Playoffs with a record of 61 wins and 21 losses, eliminated Portland and Seattle but left the scene, again, at the hands of the Utah Jazz. Thanks to his growing performance, Kobe earned the starting guard post for the following season.
The golden years
The 1999-2000 season opens with the arrival of Phil Jackson on the Lakers bench. Under the leadership of the former six-time NBA champion coach with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen’s Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles team won four titles in five years. After winning his first title, Kobe Bryant began to take the scepter of the team more and more, overtaking Shaquille O’Neal in the team hierarchy. After the succession of rumors that approached one or the other player to other NBA franchises, the two reconciled and aimed at winning the title. In fact, at the end of the year, the Lakers completed the much-hoped-for back-to-back and put on the second ring. The following year, Kobe ended the season with more than 25 points per game and the Los Angeles Lakers again centered the Playoffs and third consecutive NBA title win. In doing so, Phil Jackson completed the three-peat mission for the third time in his career, after two with the Chicago Bulls.
The 2004 season opened with a substantial change to yellow-purple Los Angeles. On the bench now sat Rudy Tomjanovich (not really Jackson, that’s it), and in the painting there was not the bulky and dominant figure of Shaquille O’Neal. Although the master Phil Jackson returned from the following season, the three-year period from 2005 to 2007 did not stand out in Los Angeles history for great merits. two monstre digits under points on the match report. The yellow-purple star, December 20, 2005, scored 62 points in three quarters against the Dallas Mavericks. A few games later, on January 22, 2006, he established the second best score of all time, scoring 81 points against the Toronto Raptors.
The beginning of the end
In the following season, Kobe entered the top ten of the best scorers ever. The 2010-11 season, in fact, seemed to follow in the footsteps of the previous one, and the fans were already dreaming of spectacular Finals with Bryant and Gasol facing the Miami Heat of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. After closing the regular season with a second place in the West, the Lakers easily passed the first round of the Playoffs but were swept away by Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks in the conference semifinal. The following year, Kobe Bryant became the fifth highest scorer of all time. But, like the previous year, the Lakers were eliminated in the conference semifinals, this time by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
It was a pilot error that caused the crash in which Kobe Bryant died. This is the conclusion reached by the appraisal carried out by the ‘National Transportation Safety Board’, the US transport body. In the accident of January 26, 2020, in addition to the American champion, his daughter Gianna and seven other people lost their lives. According to the report, pilot Ara Zobayan had been forbidden to cross the ongoing disturbance by slipping into the clouds. But he ignored the order, eventually losing his bearings. Immediately after the crash in Calabasas, on the Californian hills shrouded in thick fog.