Kobe Bean Bryant was an American professional basketball player. A shooting guard, he spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association.
Kobe Bryant was born on August 23rd, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father, Joe Bryant, was a former player for the Philadelphia 76ers. His parents named him after the famous beef of Kobe, Japan which they saw on a menu at a restaurant. When Kobe was six, Joe retired from the NBA and moved the family to Italy where he continued playing in a European league. Kobe learned to speak Italian fluently. During summers as a pre-teen, Kobe would return to the US to participate in basketball summer leagues. When Joe retired from playing altogether, the family moved back to Philadelphia where he attended Lower Merion High School.
Kobe excelled at basketball in high school where he lead his team to their first state championship in 53 years. He was quickly named Gatorade's Men's National Basketball player of the year and the USA Today's All USA first team player. His SAT score was high enough to get him into many colleges with a scholarship but Kobe opted to go straight to the pros. Kobe is the youngest played in history to be drafted into the NBA.
Kobe was initially drafted by the Hornets but was instantly traded to the Lakers in a prearranged deal. Because he was 17, Kobe's parents had to cosign his rookie contract. His first NBA contract was a three-year $3.5 million deal.
Salary And Career Earnings
During his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant earned just over $328 million in salary alone. Some notable contracts include a three-year $90 million extension signed in 2010. In 2013 he signed a 2-year $48.5 million extension.
He also earned approximately $350 million from endorsements for a total of $680 million in NBA carer earnings. During his final year in the NBA, Kobe earned $25 million. His most notably endorsements include Nike, Sprite, McDonald's, Turkish Airlines Lenovo, Hublot and Panini. Kobe's popularity in China enabled him to sign lucrative Chinese-specific endorsement deals with companies including Alibaba, Sina.com and Mercedes Benz.
He was signed to Adidas for the first years of his career. His Adidas contract, which was signed before the 1996 season, was worth $48 million over six years.
Many of Kobe's endorsement deals were canceled in the wake of his sexual assault allegations in 2003. A notabley exception was Nike which that same year signed him to a 4-year deal that paid $10 million per year. Interestingly, Nike did not use Kobe in any sponsorship works for two years.
Endorsement deals eventually returned in full-force.
Outside The NBA
Kobe won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
In 2018 Kobe won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his film "Dear Basketball".
In November 1999, Kobe married the then 17-year-old Vanessa Laine. They met while she was working as a background dancer in a music video. He was in the studio at the same time working on his debut musical album. They were engaged within six months of their first meetings. She was still a senior in high school.
Kobe and Vanessa married on April 18, 2001 in Dana Point, California. Bryant's parents did not attend the marriage because they reportedly did not approve of the relationship.
They welcomed their first child, Natalia Diamante Bryant, on January 19th, 2003, their second child, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, on May 1st, 2006. They eventually had a total of four children, all daughters. Their other daughters are named Bianka and Capri.
On December 16th, 2011, Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce after 10.5 years of marriage. The couple had no pre-nup and Vanessa's divorce settlement could have cost him $100-150 million. They eventually reconciled.
In an absolutely shocking turn of events, Kobe Bryan died on January 26, 2020 at the age of 41 in a helicopter crash. Eight other people died in the crash. Kobe's 13-year-old daughter Gianna was one of the victims as well.
Kobe Bryant was an American professional basketball player who had a net worth of $600 million at the time of his death. Tragically, Kobe Bryant died on January 26, 2020 in a helicopter crash. Kobe Bryan was an 18X NBA All-Star, a 5X NBA Champion and 2X NBA Finals Champion.