There was a time not so long ago when Kobe Bryant was the NBA’s golden boy, but now he is often the forgotten middle child, sandwiched in between Michael Jordan and LeBron James and frequently overlooked in the never ending GOAT debate that these three have been locked in for what seems like an eternity. It is no secret that Kobe is nearing retirement, and the past few years have been cruel to the star that once struck so much fear into his opponents. A number of injuries have plagued the 36-year-old in recent times, and now it appears that his ageing body seems unable to carry the lofty weight of his team-mates and the expectations of the Lakers' supporters. Despite this, he has recovered from his torn Achilles like only he can and has impressed this season, even though the Lakers have an abysmal record so far.
Nonetheless, Kobe has five rings and dozens of personal accolades which will cement him as one of the greatest players to ever play the game. He has also done what many stars have tried and failed to do (including LeBron), which is to essentially win a title all by himself, which he did in both 2009 and 2010. Nowadays it seems like the only way to win is with a ‘Big 3’ or under Greg Popovich’s command, but Kobe’s rings were earned either in a lethal combination with Shaq, or more or less on his own. In addition to his success, Kobe has also been one of the most exciting players to watch since he came into the league in 1996. He came in as a high flying, explosive youngster, and became one of the all time great scorers that can score in any number of different ways. He has worked tirelessly at his game, making him one of the smoothest, slickest players in recent times with dozens of polished moves in his arsenal.
Kobe’s dedication and commitment to basketball make him an interesting character, with some suggesting that he is perhaps a little too professional. Those around him have made a number of fascinating, insightful comments into his incredible drive and determination to be the best. In the later stages of his career he has become known to be a merciless player with ice in his veins, and he has developed a frosty demeanour which could be a result of the damaging rape allegations that he faced, his very public feud with Shaq, or the weight of a storied franchise on his shoulders.
Here are 15 interesting facts about the Lakers superstar.
15 He is named after a Japanese steakhouse
14 Brandy was his prom date in 1996
13 He is an A.C Milan fan
12 He was the first guard to come out of high school
11 He eyed a career as a rapper
10 He met his wife when he was recording rap
9 He was nearly drafted by the Clippers
8 He holds the record for most consecutive All-Star selections
7 Mike D’Antoni was his favourite player growing up
6 He has been in the NBA for more than half his life
5 He did not show up to Shaq’s wedding
4 He is about to leapfrog Jordan in total career points
3 He has been selected to the All-Defensive teams 12 times
2 His first words to Jordan were “you know I can kick your a** one on one”
1 He is the first player to reach 30,000 points and 6,000 assists
Not only is Kobe about to leapfrog Jordan to third on the all-time scoring list, but he has also become the first player to reach 30,000 points and 6,000 assists. His scoring ability is well known and heavily documented, particularly dropping 81 points and his four consecutive 50+ point games in 2007, but this statistic proves that he is more than just a scoring machine. When he wants to, Kobe can be an excellent passer of the ball and get his teammates involved. He has also played alongside some fantastic players that have helped him reach this impressive record, including the likes of Shaq, Derek Fisher, Robert Horry, Rick Fox, Karl Malone, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash.
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