The Life & Times of Kobe Bryant in Pictures
Basketball was part of Kobe Bryant early life. He's pictured here at age 12, posing with his basketball team in Italy, where he grew up.
Kobe Bryant during a 1995 playoff game against Coatesville in 1995 at Lower Merion high school. John Lucas, coach of the Philadelphia 76ers at the time, was in attendance. Lucas decided then that he wanted to sign Kobe, but he was fired from the 76ers before Bryant hit the draft.
Kobe Bryant attended Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. He was regarded as the top high-school basketball player in the country. Bryant used the schools' gym as a backdrop to his announcement that he would skip college and enter the 1996 NBA draft. (April, 1996)
In 1996 Kobe Bryant was picked 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets at the NBA draft. Later that day, June 26, Bryant was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Joining Nick Van Exel, Rick Fox, Cedric Ceballos, Elden Campbell, Eddie Jones, and Shaquille O’Neal , who joined the team that summer during free agency.
Leaders of the new school. The 1996 class of pros ballers posed for a group photo. From left: Marcus Camby, Ray Allen, Stephon Marbury , Kobe Bryant, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Jermaine O’Neal, Kerry Kittles, Steve Nash, Ben Wallace, Antoine Walker, and Samaki Walker. Allen Iverson is noticeably absent.
Kobe Bryant made his NBA debut on Nov. 3, 1996 opposite Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bryant came off the bench for 3 minutes, but didn't put up any points in 91-85 Lakers victory. (Photo: Michael Caulfield/AP Photo)
In 2003 Kobe Bryant was accused and charged with sexual assault after an encounter with a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado. Bryant denied the accusation, admitting he did engage in consensual sex with the woman. He appeared at a press conference, with wife, Vanessa, to discuss the incident.
Kobe and Vanessa Bryant quickly began growing their family. In January 2003 they welcomed Natalia, the first of four daughters. The family of 3 attended the ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean: At Worlds End’ world film premiere in Anaheim, CA, May 19, 2007. (Elizabeth Goodenough/Shutterstock)
In 2006 Kobe switched jersey numbers, from no. 8 to no. 24. 24 was Bryant's first number in high school, but when he joined the Lakers in 1996, George McCloud was wearing No. 24. (His second high school number was 33, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's number, which the Lakers had already retired). McCloud left the Lakers in 1997, but Bryant didn't decide to go after no. 24 for another 9 years.
Daughter Gianna, was born in May 2006 turning the trio into a clan of 4. Kobe and Vanessa Bryant with daughters Natalia and Gianna at Disneyland for the opening of ‘Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage’ on June 10, 2007. (Angello Picco/Shutterstock)
In 2017 the Lakers retired both of Kobe's jerseys, no. 8 and no. 24, in a half time ceremony during the Lakers/Golden State game on December 18. Bryant is the only player to have two jersey numbers retired with the same team. Bryant's family and NBA great, Magic Johnson, left, was on on-hand to celebrate.