Remembering Kobe Bryant: 10 facts to celebrate his 42nd birthday

Kobe Bryant would have celebrated his 42nd birthday today.

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant would have celebrated his 42nd birthday today, August 23.

The Los Angeles Laker died in a helicopter crash, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, in Calabasas, California on January 26.

Bryant’s long-time sponsor Nike will also launching Mamba Week today and promises to include Bryant-themed jerseys and shoes. The company has also pledged to donate US$1 million to the foundation.

Bryant, and his daughter Gianna, died in a helicopter crash in California on January 26, 2020.

To celebrate his life and legacy, here are 10 facts on the legendary ‘Black Mamba’:

  1. Kobe Bryant was drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA) at 17-years-old, the overall 13th pick in 1996.
  2. Bryant was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets but was immediately traded to the LA Lakers.
  3. He won the NBA Slam Dunk contest as a rookie player in 1997.
  4. Kobe made his debut in the NBA All-Star Game in 1998.
  5. Bryant won his first of five NBA titles when the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Indiana Pacers to win the NBA Finals in 2000.
  6. He was named NBA All-Star Game MVP in 2002 after winning his third consecutive NBA Finals Championships.
  7. The ‘Black Mamba’ alter ego that Kobe was known for was revealed in 2003.
  8. Kobe led the United States to gold at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and again at the 2012 London Olympics.
  9. Bryant retired from professional basketball in his final appearance with the Lakers on April 13, 2016 as they defeated the Utah Jazz 101-96.
  10. Kobe won an Academy Award for Dear Basketball, which he wrote and produced, in 2018.