Kobe Bryant has been an household name in basketball for close to 20 years.He had an exceptional career becoming a 5× NBA champion (2000–2002, 2009–2010),2× NBA Finals MVP (2009–2010), NBA Most Valuable Player (2008),18× NBA All-Star (1998, 2000–2016),4× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011),11× All-NBA First Team (2002–2004, 2006–2013)2× All-NBA Second Team (2000–2001),2× All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2005) among other accolades.Kobe Bryant finally bowed out on Wednesday after 20 great years in the NBA and is regarded in the league of Kareem Abdul Jabbar,Magic Johnson,Michael Jordan and other NBA greats,easily among the top five greatest players ever in the NBA.Here are ten interesting facts you probably never knew about him.
1. He got named after a Japanese sneak house meat
Kobe Bryant got his name when his food-related father Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant and mom Pamela Bryant saw Kobe beef on a restaurant menu. While “Kobe” has become part of the NBA lexicon, one must realize it’s only there because sushi didn’t sound great to the Bryants on that evening.Well, at least he’s not Yakitori Bryant. “Yaki” is way too close to “Yucky.”That being said, could Bryant actually have one of the funniest names in sports? Will his play be overshadowed by the fact that he’s actually a delicacy across Tokyo? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
2. He dated “world famous” Brandy in 1996- Brandy admitted she still has the dress she wore on that date. ‘WOW’
Kobe has obviously not just been bad on court,He showed his off court swag by dating Brandy in a time when she was very famous and Kobe was just a rookie.The singer says she still has the dress she wore 20 years ago when Mamba took her to prom.Once upon a time in ’96 Brandy was the worldwide superstar adored by all and Kobe was a young Philly hoops prodigy who somehow managed to score a prom date with the princess.Brandy in an interview in NYC promoting her new show,fans had know what happened to the dress that she wore on her big night with KB? She said she kept the corsage Kobe gave her and it turns out she still has the dress too.Chill Vanessa,this all happened when Pac and Biggie was still alive.
3. Kobe Bryant wanted to be a rapper
For weeks during the summer of 1998, Kobe Bryant lived in the New Jersey mansion of hip-hop record executive Steve Stoute. Bryant was there to try on the role of rap star, but since he was also training to be the next Michael Jordan, basketball consumed most of his time. Every morning, he’d drive to nearby Ramapo College and cfd2,000 jump shots. Sometimes, Stoute would shuttle in streetball players from New York to help Bryant brush up on his defense. By sundown every day, though, he was tasked with absorbing “the lifestyle,” a kind of initiation into the late-’90s world of rap royalty.
That was the idea, anyway. At the time, Stoute was president of urban music for Sony Entertainment, and he’d recently signed Bryant and his group CHEIZAW1 to the label. He’d moved Bryant from Los Angeles to New York that summer to, Stoute says, be around the gilded hip-hop industry. Stoute, a marketing whiz and big-picture specialist, was reaching unseen heights in the industry, having recently orchestrated Will Smith’s comeback rap album, the nine-times platinum Big Willie Style. He thought he could do the same for Kobe Bryant. Basketball came naturally to the 20-year-old. Hip-hop was going to take some work.But Bryant was up for it. When he wasn’t playing ball, he was recording at the Hit Factory with late-’90s producers par excellence the Trackmasters and their stable of artists, which included Nas, Noreaga, Punch and Words, Nature, and a young scrapper named 50 Cent. Bryant lived it up in New York.Bryant was in love with the purest form of hip-hop, and he wanted a challenge: to battle the pros.He got his wish one night at the Hit Factory, when he teamed with CHEIZAW member Broady Boy to take on Punch and Words. Bryant, typically unflappable, maintained his composure at the outset. Upon entering the fray, he rapped: “I quantum leap into the future and battle myself.” After a few rounds, Broady ran out of lyrics and the sparring session wound down. Kobe then chided his teammate.4 “Yo, you got to be in lyrical fitness, man,” Bryant told Broady, referencing a well-known lyric by the rapper Canibus.
4. He met his wife in a studio
Vanessa was filming a music video as a dancer when Kobe happened to be in the same building. They met and exchanged numbers. She was so inundated by paparazzi while trying to attend Marina High School that she had to finish high school via independent study. When they married,she was 19 and he was 22.Kobe’s parents though never wanted him to marry her because they felt they were too young when they got hitched with no pre-nuptial agreement in 2001,so they didn’t attend the wedding.That though didn’t stop the wedding from going on.They’ve been married for 15 years and have two daughters.
5. He did not show up at Shaq’s wedding
Kob and Shaq were teammates for years but they feuded almost every time off court.Rumours had it that was the reason why Kobe didn’t attend Shaq’s wedding,saying he doesn’t attend events! Really?But why did you also not attend Shaq’s retirement send-off? Here is what Kobe had to say about that “I couldn’t,” Bryant said after the Lakers’ 101-81 win over the Dallas Mavericks. “It was too big of a game. I couldn’t do that. I just couldn’t. I wish I could, but this game was a huge huge game for us. I had to make sure I stayed back here, stretch and get ready for the second half of the season. I wish I could’ve, but it’s impossible. I watched it on TV as much as I could”.They’ve made up since then though and Shaq was a big presence in Kobe’s last game in the NBA.
6.Kobe’s first words to Michael Jordan.- “You know i can kick your a** one-on-one”.
Phil Jackson,then Lakers coach wanted Jordan to “talk to Kobe a little bit” after a game.”First thing Kobe says is, ‘I could kick your a** one-on-one,'” said Jackson, describing the meeting between the two. I can only imagine the reaction from Michael when Kobe uttered those words.Better yet, the reaction from Jackson (who was coaching Bryant at the time). I can just see Jackson’s eyes getting ready to bulge out from behind his glasses.Seriously, though, this comes as no surprise.Bryant is a fierce competitor, and he probably believes that a prime version of himself could top a prime version of Jordan in a one-on-one series.Hey, why shouldn’t he be allowed to think that? Kobe is an outstanding one-on-one player.
7. His career high was 81 points against Toronto Raptors on Jan 22,2016.
That performance still stands as the second-most prolific in league history, behind only Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary 100-point game.On 28 of 46 from the floor, knocking down 7 of 13 from three point range and going 18 of 20 from the free throw line. He pulled down six rebounds and dished out a pair of assists, just for good measure.With the Lakers trailing by 18 points in the third quarter, they needed just about everything Bryant had on that Sunday.”That was something that just happened,” Bryant said in after the game. “It’s tough to explain. It’s just one of those things.”It really hasn’t, like, set in for me. It’s about the ‘W,’ that’s why I turned it on. It turned into something special. To sit here and say I grasp what happened, that would be lying.”He scored 14 points in the first quarter, 12 in the second quarter, 27 in the third and 28 (of the team’s 31 total points) in the fourth quarter. Amazingly, Bryant had just 11 points against the very same Raptors in Toronto just a month prior.
8. Kobe was a close friend of Michael Jackson
During an interview with Jimmy Kimmel some years ago, Kobe Bryant talked about the influence that Michael Jackson had on him. According to Kobe, Michael Jackson used to talk to him about how he studied great musicians in order to propel himself to the heights that he eventually reached. Kobe told Kimmel that the King of Pop’s approach really resonated with him and showed him what he would need to do to be considered one of the best basketball players of all time.Kobe talked about the role Michael Jackson played in his career. Kobe remembers getting a call from MJ way back in 1998. Kobe says he was catching a lot of flack for being, well, Kobe at the time, and MJ told him not to stop. In fact, he told him to keep doing exactly what he was doing.
9. His dad was also a basketball player!!! Oh yes.
Joe Bryant was drafted in 1975 by the Golden State Warriors before being traded to the Philadelphia Sixers where he played for four years,he then moved to San Diego Clippers and Houston Rockets.He then moved to Italy where he played for seven years for clubs like Sebastiani Rieti,Pistoia and Regio Emilia.Since retiring as a player though,he has turned to coaching from 1992 till now.How come we never knew about him??? Kobe’s exceptional career has probably overshadowed his achievements nevertheless,he contributed massively to Kobe’s development as a player.
10. Kobe is a big Barcelona and AC Milan fan
FIFA.com asked the Mamba, who had been attending matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, about his other sporting love outside basketball, and his response was rather interesting. “I am actually a huge fan of football. I grew up in Italy. From the age from six to fourteen, I played soccer every day. It is actually my favorite sport,” he said.Kobe has spoken about his love for soccer in the past.Back in 2006, he discussed his playing career,saying “I wasn’t anything spectacular. I would have moments of doing something crazy that really wasn’t done on purpose. I’d pull off a nice move that was unintentional.I started out at goalkeeper because my arms were so long and I didn’t really have a good feel at handling the ball. As I practiced and progressed, they moved me to midfield”. In fact, it wasn’t until he moved to Philadelphia that he truly committed to basketball. While living in Italy, where his father played professional hoops, he was obsessed with both sports, failing to choose one over the other.Nonetheless, he’s remained a huge fan of the sport, regularly weighing in on soccer happenings while occasionally showing off his skills and attending matches.The Philadelphia-born Bryant, who speaks fluent Italian and Spanish, grew up supporting Serie A giants AC Milan,and later loved Barcelona with Lionel Messi his favourite player.Kobe also regularly visits Barcelona’s training ground and has never hidden his love for Lionel Messi. His favorite player though is former Dutch striker Marco van Basten.