Born on August 23, 1978, Kobe Bryant is a native of Pennsylvania and a graduate of Lower Merion High School. The son of former NBA player Joe ‘Jellybean’ Bryant, Kobe had no problem in making a name for himself after being voted a starter for the 1998 All-Star Game during his second season, which made him the youngest All-Star in NBA history at 19 years of age.
As with all athletes, Kobe Bryant had a life before becoming an NBA star. Eight years of his childhood, which was spent in Italy, led to Bryant being able to speak fluent Italian. His parents, who also have two daughters, Sharia and Shaya, named Kobe Bryant after a type of steak that they noticed on a restaurant menu. During his high school years, Bryant was recognized as the all-time leading scorer in Southeastern Pennsylvania history. His record, which was 2,883 points, managed to break the marks of both Wilt Chamberlain and Carlin Warley. During his final years as a high school athlete, Kobe Bryant was chosen by USA Today and Parade as the National High School Player of the Year. In addition, he was recognized as the Naismith Player of the Year and the Gatorade Circle of Champions High School Player of the Year.
During his rookie NBA season, which occurred in 1996-1997, Kobe Bryant played in 71 games and started in six. He was selected to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team and became the youngest player to ever start an NBA game when he was 18 years, five months and five days of age. By the 1997-1998 season, Kobe Bryant was ready for action as the points just kept racking up at each game. During the 1998-1999 season, Bryant was named to the All-NBA Third Team. The following season, which was held from 1999-2000, found Kobe Bryant remaining atop of the mountain on the NBA players list. In addition to being named to the 1999-2000 All-NBA Second Team, he was also honored with the NBA All-Interview Second Team, the NBA All-Defensive First Team and was named the NBA Player of the Week from April 10-16, 2000.
By the time the 2000-2001 season rolled around, Kobe Bryant was a household name. After appearing in 68 games and averaging 28.5 points per game, Kobe ranked among the league leaders in scoring. In 2001-2002, Bryant played in a career-high 80 games, in which he averaged 25.2 points each and was again ranked among the league’s scoring leaders. In 2002, he was named as the Most Valuable Player of the NBA All-Star Game.
During the seasons that followed, Kobe Bryant continued to score points both on the court and in the hearts of NBA fans. With an average of 24 points per game in the 2003 season, Kobe was selected to the 2003-2004 All-NBA and All-Defensive First Team. The 2004-2005 season found Bryant on the All-NBA Third Team. In January 2006, Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in a single game, which is the second All-Time in NBA history.
Fans who would like to request a signed photo or simply send Kobe Bryant their best wishes are urged to do so in care of his NBA franchise team. If you are requesting an autograph, be sure to include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) along with your request. Letters and requests should be mailed to:
Los Angeles Lakers
555 Nash St.
El Segundo, CA 90245