Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bryant spent much of his childhood in Italy, where his father played professional basketball, and speaks fluent Italian and Spanish. Bryant entered the NBA at the age of eighteen after a spectacular high school career in the Philadelphia suburb of Lower Merion, and was originally selected by the Charlotte Hornets but never played for the team. Within weeks of being drafted, the Hornets traded him on July 11, 1996 to the Los Angeles Lakers for center Vlade Divac. Though young and somewhat introverted, Bryant's immense talent made an immediate impression with his teammates on the practice court.
Bryant's career trajectory as an NBA player out of high school has been exceptional. By the age of 24, Bryant had won many individual awards, and had been named to the All-NBA team multiple times. He is regarded as one of the best players in the NBA. Bryant helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002. The Lakers also ventured to the 2004 Finals against the Detroit Pistons, but lost four games to one. Following the loss to the Pistons, Bryant opted out of his contract to tested the free agent market. After flirting with the idea of joining several teams, he signed a new seven-year deal with the Lakers worth over $136 million on July 15, 2004.
Bryant's youth, style, good looks and accomplishments on the basketball court had made him one of the most popular and marketable players in the NBA. Much of his marketability was lost, however, as the result of rape allegations stemming from his encounter with a woman in a Colorado hotel.
Bryant's public feud with former teammate Shaquille O'Neal and head coach Phil Jackson ultimately lead to O'Neal's trade to the Miami Heat and Jackson being told his services were no longer needed. Bryant's reputation as a self-centered ball-hog became even more evident in the first post-O'Neal season with the Lakers. The Lakers missed the playoffs by a wide margin (going 1-13 in Spring 2005), and in the eyes of many, Bryant was the scapegoat.
- Three time NBA champion: 2000, 2001, 2002
- NBA All-Star Game MVP: 2002
- NBA All-Star: 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
- All-NBA First Team: 2002, 2003, 2004
- All-NBA Second Team: 2000, 2001
- All-NBA Defensive First Team: 2000, 2003, 2004
- All-NBA Defensive Second Team: 2001, 2002
- Slam Dunk Champion: 1997 The winning dunk was a between-the-legs dunk.
- Ties NBA record for most made 3-point field goals in one with 12 versus the Seattle SuperSonics on January 7, 2003.
- One of only three players in NBA history to score 40-plus points in 9 consecutive .
- Holds the Lakers team record for most consecutive free throws made at 43.
- Named the 1996 Naismith High School Player of the Year.
- Led Lower Merion H.S. to a 31-3 record and Class AAAA state title as a senior.
- USA Today and Parade Magazine's 1996 National High School Player of the Year with a seasonal average of 30.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4.0 steals and 3.8 blocks per .
- Lakerstalk: An online forum
- Player profile at NBA.com
- KobeBryant8.net: The #1 Unofficial Kobe Bryant website on the net!
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