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Who Was Kobe Bryant?
Cover of Who Was Kobe Bryant?
Who Was Kobe Bryant?
Told in a new Who HQ NOW format for trending topics, this Who Was? biography details NBA superstar Kobe Bryant's legendary career and the impact of his legacy on the sports world and beyond.Kobe Bryant...
Told in a new Who HQ NOW format for trending topics, this Who Was? biography details NBA superstar Kobe Bryant's legendary career and the impact of his legacy on the sports world and beyond.Kobe Bryant...
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  • Told in a new Who HQ NOW format for trending topics, this Who Was? biography details NBA superstar Kobe Bryant's legendary career and the impact of his legacy on the sports world and beyond.
    Kobe Bryant was just an eighteen-year-old high-school basketball player when he decided to enter the National Basketball Association's draft. Though he was the thirteenth overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets, he would never play a single game for them. Instead, Kobe was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would spend his entire twenty-season career, winning five championships and numerous awards. Author Ellen Labreque takes readers through each exciting moment, from his iconic dunks to his 81-point game—all the milestones that span Kobe Bryant's legendary career and legacy.

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  • From the book Who Was Kobe Bryant?

    It was June 26, 1996, the night of the National Basketball Association—-the NBA—-draft, when professional teams select new players. Wearing a dark suit on his slim six—foot, six—inch frame, Kobe Bryant, seventeen, was waiting for his name to be called. Just days earlier, Kobe had graduated from Lower Merion High School outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was considered the best high—school basketball player in the nation. High—school players usually went to college to prepare themselves for entering the NBA draft. Kobe was different. He wanted to become a professional right away.

    "Playing in the NBA has been my dream since I was three," Kobe said.

    The Philadelphia 76ers—-Kobe's hometown team—-had the first pick in the draft. They chose Allen Iverson from Georgetown University. The first twelve teams all chose college players. Finally, the Charlotte Hornets selected Kobe with the thirteenth pick.

    Once his name was announced, Kobe put on a Hornets baseball cap before he walked to the podium to greet the TV cameras.

    Kobe, though, would never play one minute for the Hornets. Even as he smiled in front of the cameras, Charlotte was already talking with the Los Angeles Lakers about trading Kobe for an experienced center, Vlade Divac. The Hornets, with number thirteen, had a much higher pick than the Lakers, who had the twenty—fourth selection. Charlotte chose somebody who would be a valuable trade for Los Angeles. The Hornets already had all—stars who played shooting guard, Kobe's position. They wanted someone like the seven-foot-one-inch-tall Divac.

    Kobe was grinning on the outside, but the details of the draft would stick with him. The fact that twelve—-really thirteen—-teams had passed on him would fuel his drive to be the best for the next twenty years.

    Kobe did become one of the NBA's greatest players of all time. He won five NBA titles, led the league in scoring two times, and was an eighteen—time All—Star.

    But on the day of the 1996 NBA draft, seventeen—year—old Kobe still had his whole career in front of him—-and he was ready to play.


    Chapter 1
    A Kid Named Kobe

    Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His first name came from a type of Japanese beef that his parents had noticed on a restaurant menu. Kobe's mom, Pamela, said later they always knew their son would be special, and that is why they choose that unique name. Kobe's dad, Joe Bryant, was a professional basketball player for the 76ers.

    When Kobe was three, he loved to watch his dad play on television. While he watched, Kobe would often run down the hallway, jump onto a mini trampoline, and slam a ball into an eight—foot—high plastic hoop.

    When Kobe was six, his dad's basketball career changed his family's lives. Joe had played for eight seasons and had been traded to two different teams. In 1983, he moved his whole family to Rieti, Italy, so he could play basketball there. Rieti is a small city fifty miles from Rome.

    The Bryant family did not know how to speak Italian at first. Kobe had two older sisters, Sharia and Shaya, and they spent afternoons teaching each other the language. Eventually Kobe spoke Italian as well as he spoke English.

    Joe's team had its own youth squad that Kobe joined. Despite being so young, Kobe's skills stood out right away. His talent might have come from his dad, but his personality came from his mother. Pam was the stern one in the family. Kobe hardly ever smiled when he played. "He was...

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