American shooting guard Kobe Bryant

Sports 1252 Hits > 2010-05-28 02:11:38


Kobe Bean Bryant (born August 23, 1978(1978-08-23)) is an American shooting guard who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Bryant enjoyed a successful high school basketball career and made instant headlines when he decided to go directly into the NBA upon graduation. He was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.


Bryant and then-teammate Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002. After O'Neal's departure following the 2003–04 season, Bryant became the cornerstone of the Lakers franchise. He led the NBA in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons, setting numerous scoring records in the process. In 2006, Bryant scored a career high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second highest number of points scored in a single game in NBA history,second only to Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point performance. He was awarded the regular season's Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in the 2007–08 season and led his team to the 2008 NBA Finals as the first seed in the Western Conference. He won his fourth NBA championship in 2009, leading the Lakers to their fifteenth title and won his first Finals MVP award.


In 2010, Bryant became the all-time leading scorer in Lakers history. Since his second year in the league, Bryant has started in every NBA All-Star Game that has been hosted, winning the All-Star MVP award in 2002, 2007, and 2009. In 2008, he won a gold medal as a member of the 2008 Summer Olympics U.S. Men's Basketball Team, occasionally referred to as "The Redeem Team," a play on the name of the first Olympic team that featured NBA players, the Dream Team. Throughout the 2006–07 season, Bryant's jersey became the top selling NBA jersey in the United States and China. In 2009, Bryant had the top-selling jersey in the United States, Europe, and China.The following year, Bryant once again had the top-selling jersey in the United States. Both TNT and Sporting News named Bryant the "NBA Player of the Decade" for 2000-09.


In 2003, Bryant made headlines when he was accused of sexual assault at a hotel in Edwards, Colorado by a hotel employee. Bryant admitted an adulterous sexual encounter with the accuser, but denied the sexual assault allegation. In September 2004, prosecutors dropped the case after his accuser informed them that she was unwilling to testify. Bryant's accuser brought a separate civil suit against him that was ultimately settled out of court.


 






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