Kobe Bryant never played college basketball – his skill level was so high that he was drafted right out of high school (Lower Merion High School near Philadelphia) to play with the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. He is the first guard to ever make the leap directly to the pros. The son of former Philadelphia 76er forward Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, Kobe has played basketball since age 3. His name was inspired by a menu item, famous kobe beef, which is considered a delicacy in Japan. During 16 years in the Lakers’ purple and gold, he has led the team to five NBA titles, was the league’s Most Valuable Player during the 2007-08 season, and has won two scoring titles. The first came in 2006 when he averaged 35.4 points and once scored 81 points in game, the second most ever after Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game.
Get unlimited Monitor journalism.Learn more