Kobe Bryant is an NBA player currently for the Los Angeles Lakers. He won the MVP award in 2008 and is a five-time champion and two-time scoring champion.
The Charlotte Hornets selected Bryant (out of Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, Pa.) with the No. 13 pick in the 1996 draft and immediately traded him to the Lakers.
Bryant won the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest and was voted a starter in the 1998 All-Star Game despite starting just one game for the Lakers.
Teaming with center Shaquille O’Neal, Bryant won his first championship in 2000, beating the Indiana Pacers in six games. The Lakers went 15-1 in the playoffs en route to repeating in 2001. They completed the three-peat by knocking off the New Jersey Nets in the 2002 NBA Finals.
After the Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals, O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat. Bryant, who publicly feuded with O’Neal, signed a new seven-year deal with the Lakers the next day.
In 2006, Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second-highest single-game scoring performance in NBA history behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962. Bryant won the scoring title after averaging 35.4 points on the season.
Bryant won the MVP award in 2008 and paired with Pau Gasol to lead the Lakers to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Boston Celtics.
The Lakers won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010 as Bryant was named Finals MVP in victories against the Orlando Magic and Celtics.
Bryant tore his Achilles tendon in April 2013 and missed the playoffs and start of the next season. A fractured knee limited him to six games in 2014.
In December 2014, he passed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.