Kobe Bryant is a retired, professional basketball player. Bryant, also known around the NBA as ‘Black Mamba’, was born on August 23rd, 1978 in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He is the youngest of three children by former NBA player Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant. At six years old, Kobe’s father left the NBA and moved the family to Italy. Kobe learned to speak fluent Italian and would return to the States for summer basketball leagues until his father would retire from basketball in 1991. They moved back to the US where Bryant attended Lower Merion High School and rose to be listed as the top high school player in the country.
Bryant was raised Roman Catholic. He carries the Catholic tradition of God-parenting. When facing sexual assault charges, he stated, “I’ve pretty much done all I can here and, you know, God will carry me the rest of the way, so I’m pretty comfortable with that.” He has also said that he wouldn’t mind being Jewish,”….I wouldn’t. Really.”
The legendary basketball phenom is a Democrat and is even known to be buddies with the last President of the United States, Barack Obama. Obama once mentioned, “Kobe and Derek [Fisher] have been there so many times now, they could lead tours themselves.”
Kobe loves swimming, soccer, spending time with his family, and listening to Jay-Z.
He has three children with Vanessa Laine Bryant. The pair married in 2001 and remained together despite the sexual assault controversy.
His middle name is ‘Bean’ named after his dad’s nickname, ‘Jellybean.’ His parents named him after the type of beef on a menu in Kobe, Japan. Kobe became a fan favorite his rookie year in 1997 after winning the Slam Dunk Contest. He was the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA draft. The ’96 draft produced two other MVP award winners, Steve Nash and Allen Iverson.