A TRIBUE TO THE LEGENDARY KOBE BRYANT -"THE TRUE "BLACK MAMBA", FATHER, PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER AND PHILANTHROPIST TO THE WORLD!"
Kobe Bryant played for the LA Lakers and ranked as a five-time NBA champion. Not only is he a basketball legend, but he is remembered for his contributions to the community and advocator of philanthropy during the past 20 years of his career and uncanny talent that led him to score 81 points in the game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.
Kobe was different, in 2000 he joined the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation grants a wish to a child with a critical illness. His impact was recognized for the time he gave to each wish recipient, from coming together and shooting hoops, to talking about upcoming games. He strived to provide these kids and families a real wish-come-true.
In 2002 Bryant attended a special screening of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros. Studios inviting Miles Ave. Elementary School. This fantasy novel is about a young wizard, Potter, and his friends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was Bryant that brought their kids fantasy into reality.
In 2005 Hawaii governor Linda Lingle and Bryant cut the ribbon for the Lakers Reading Room at the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii. This event took place October 11 and is the eighth Reading Room by the Lakers for the NBA’s Read To Achieve program.
In 2007 Bryant visited Carr Elementary in Torrance, CA as part of the Lakers Read to Achieve program to celebrate their 100 percent completion rate in the Lakers Reading Challenge. Students who complete the challenge receive a Lakers prize, a certificate of completion, and enter the drawing for Lakers tickets, and 100 percent completion winners will win Grand Prizes.
In 2010 Bryant joined President Obama assembling care packages for wounded warriors in Washington D.C. Former President Obama was fond of Bryant. On January 26, 1:56pm, he tweeted, "Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day."
Bryant celebrated the LA Lakers annual Holiday Party for Kids every year and the Season of Giving presented by East West Bank.
In 2011 Kobe cares after a basketball clinic for students from China and LA as part of a Mandarin Cultural exchange program supported by the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation at Bell Gardens Intermediate school.
In 2012 Kobe served families with the Lakers Holiday Adopt-A-Family program with hot chocolate, cookies, and gifts. The players wrapped the gifts for the families adopted and shared the joy of the holidays.
The annual summer basketball camp recruited inspiring upcoming athletes. In 2013 he created the Kobe Bryant Basketball Academy. This project offered one week of basketball instructions taught by him and a team of coaches.
In 2014 Kobe participated in a shooting shirt exchange for veteran’s day. This is where you each wear the name of an active military member on a shooting shirt.
Along with winning five championships, he won two NBA Finals MVPs and two Olympic gold medals, and finished fourth in career scoring. Off the courts he was a person who was intelligent, spoke three languages regularly, Italian, Spanish, English; an amazing father to four daughters, a media king who won an Oscar, a soccer fan who rooted for Barcelona and AC Milan, a champ of women’s sports, and well-known for his inspiration to young players with a winning attitude called “Mamba Mentality”.
“The Black Mamba” was a name he gave himself as a coping mechanism. It was derived off a scene in the film “Kill Bill”. He said he wouldn’t let life just swallow him up. He wrote the book “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play” and christened his Mamba Sports Academy in 2018.
Bryant’s father was Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, a former NBA player himself. He played in Italy where Kobe’s love for soccer began. There he first ran into racism. Kobe said that living isolated among Italian kids, he gravitated towards the game and found solace in it. Playing the game was his vengeance.
In Philadelphia, this 6-foot-6-inch high schooler scored away. He was drafted straight to the NBA in 1996. Lakers manager, Jerry West, spotted him and traded him. Already, from 2000 to 2002 they won three NBA finals with player O’Neal.
Bryant and O’Neil had their differences and when O’Neil was traded to Miami, Bryant brought two more championships to Lakers Nation along with Pau Gasol in 2009 and 2010.
After a torn Achilles tendon in 2013 and a torn rotator cuff in 2015, Bryant made plans for another future. He began practicing with his soccer favorites after making ties with them. He also attended women’s sporting events, and joined his daughters at events as well.
He played basketball drills with Gianna, his second oldest daughter. He opened a branding company, Kobe Inc., in 2014 following with the multimedia production company Granity Studios. In 2018 Koby won an Oscar for "Best Animated Short Film" based on his retirement letter “Dear Basketball”.
SOURCES: NBA.com. CNN.com, The Day, Getty, Chronicle Online, The Score, Nike, Esquire Magazine.