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Position: Guard | Born: 08/23/78 | Height: 6'7" | Weight: 210lbs | Highschool: Lower Merion (PA) BACKGROUND ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Kobe Bryant, the son of former NBA player Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, jumped directly from high school to the pros in 1996 and enjoyed an impressive rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also won the Nestle Crunch Slam Dunk and was the leading scorer in the Schick Rookie Game during the NBA All-Star Weekend. Bryant was the all-time leading scorer in Southeastern Pennsylvania history with 2,883 points, breaking the marks of NBA legend and Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain (2,359 points) and former St. Joseph's player Carlin Warley (2,441 points). Bryant led his high school team to a 77-13 record in last three seasons and was a four-year starter. His father, Joe, played eight NBA seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers and Houston Rockets, and is a former assistant coach at La Salle. As a senior at Lower Merion High School, Bryant was selected by USA Today and Parade Magazine as the National High School Player of the Year. He was also named Naismith Player of the Year, Gatorade Circle of Champions High School Player of the Year and to the McDonald's All-America Team. Bryant averaged 30.8 ppg, 12 rpg, 6.5 apg, four spg and 3.8 bpg. He led Lower Merion to Class AAAA state title with a 31-3 record. Bryant scored a career-high 50 points vs. Marple Newtow and scored 34 points to go along with 15 rebounds, six assists and nine blocks to lead Lower Merion to District I Class AAA title over Chester. He scored 117 points and was named Most Outstanding Player in Prestigious Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Lakers wanted Bryant but were drafting late, so they swung a deal with the Charlotte Hornets whereby Charlotte selected him with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft, then dealt him to Los Angeles in exchange for center Vlade Divac. Despite his youth and lack of college experience, Bryant was a signficant contributor as the Lakers won 56 games in 1996-97. He scored in double figures 25 times, including a streak of seven within 10 games late in the season. He also grabbed the spotlight at the All-Star Weekend by winning the Nestle Crunch Slam Dunk and leading all players with an event-record 31 points in the Schick Rookie Classic. 1996-97 NOTES ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Playing at shooting guard, point guard and small forward, Bryant appeared in 71 games as a rookie, including six starts, and averaged 7.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 15.5 minutes. He averaged 11.3 ppg in the last 13 games of the seaon and 12.4 ppg in the 26 games in which he played 20+ minutes. He was chosen to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. Bryant scored a career-high 24 points, shooting 9-for-11 from the field, in a 109-85 win at Golden State on April 8. The 24 points were the most by a Laker reserve all season. He scored in double figures 25 times and four times had 20+ points. He ranked third on the team in free throw percentage at .819, fourth in three-pointers with 51 and fifth in three-point percentage at .375. He became the youngest player to ever start an NBA game on January 28 at Dallas, when he was 18 years, five months, five days. He's the second-youngest player in NBA history, behind Portland's Jermaine O'Neal. Bryant was one of the stars of the All-Star Weekend. He led all scorers in the Schick Rookie Game with an event-record 31 points, then came back to become the first Laker ever to win the Nestle Crunch Slam Dunk later that night, posting a score of 49 out of a possible 50 in the final round. Bryant appeared in all nine of the Lakers' playoff games in a reserve role, ranking fifth on the club in scoring at 8.2 ppg. He scored 22 points in Game 3 of the First Round against Portland and 19 in Game 3 of the Conference Semifinals against Utah. His parents named him after a type of steak (kobe) seen on a restaurant menu prior to his birth. Is fluent in Italian. Enjoys reading and playing video games. Has two older sisters, Sharia and Shaya. His favorite movie is Star Wars, he likes Karate movies and introduced Tracy McGrady to karate movies, Now McGrady is a karate-movie junkie!! Kobe likes reading, swimming and video games. Some of his favorite foods are Macaroni and cheese, swordfish, sweet potatoes, vanila malts, Apple pie. his favorite cartoon charcter: "road runner; because he cant be caught." His favorite actor is Will Smith, Magazine is Vibe, sports magazine is Slam, tv show is Moesha, baseball team is the Mariners, rap song is If I Ruled The World by NAS and Lauren Hill, group is Boyz II Men. ..There are the earrings. He doesn't wear any. "I don't want holes in my ears," he says. "Nothing against anybody else, but it's not for me." Then there are the tattoos. He doesn't have any. "What for?" he says. Kobe went to the High School Prom with super star singer/actress Brandy. She was at the All Star Weekend to see him with the Dunk Contest and play in the Rookie game.. she and her brother (Ray-J)were cheering him on the whole time. Now they claim to be just freinds... "I'm still a mama's boy, I'll want some home-cooked meals....." The way he got his #8 from that his birhtday is in the 8th month and in the ABCD camp he was mvp so he took the numbers #143 and added them up and he took #8 He has his own shoe the KB-8 from Adidas. why is he with Adidas?"For the simple fact that adidas is upcoming, on the rise. I wanted to be a part of that. It's easy to just go the brand that's already at the top, join in and blend in, but that's something I didn't want to do." He's going to school "I have started taking courses at the University of California at Los Angeles. I dont know what I will major in yet. Right now, my favorite subject is criminal law." Who's his favorite basketball player? "I like 'em all, to tell you the truth. Magic, Michael, Penny." Other sports stars he admires: "I like Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys. He plays with a lot of desire. He works hard and he's a great person. I also admire all-time hom-run champ Hank Aaron, who played for the Atlanda Braves" Kobe does'nt go out after games and party and stuff.. nope. he jus chills. "I go home with my mother, my father, or my sisters. We have a nice little dinner together. Then I go to sleep." His Dad says, "As I said to one reporter, I said, 'Hey, all these guys are going to the clubs. Kobe will be back at the hotel reading a book or playing Nintendo.' Maybe he'll have a couple of guys stay with him. Basketball will speak for itself. But it's no doubt about it that he has the personality and there's something about him that's going to attract a lot of people in a positive manner. That's what the NBA needs today." QUOTES ------------------------------------------------------------------------ "There's a lot of fake people out there(in LA), wherever you go. You just have to love your family, have your friends and that's basically it." "I like to create things for my teammates. I love to pass the ball, but when it comes down to crunch time, I click it on. There's no doubt I want the ball." About Draft Day "It was pretty difficult, because I had my mother there squeezing my thigh and my sister there squeezing my hands, and my father there winking at me all teary-eyed. It was very hard, and I am glad it is over with." Dell Harris "No one ever questioned his one-on-one skills, or even his team skills. But he didn't have college as a transition, to (advance) from where he could dominate everybody he played and do virtually what he wanted without paying a price. There's almost no embarrassment factor for him against high school kids; he could make a mistake come out all right, because he's so good. He would have gotten into some situations in college where he would have gotten stopped and had to adjust.The good news is that he's consciously working at it, and he's making good progress." "I'm not afraid to fail. When I'm 40, if I sit back and I say, 'Man, I went to the NBA, I gave it my all and I failed,' it happens. But I couldn't accept not going to the NBA and giving my all. I can't accept that." To sign up for the kobe Newsletter send and email to the adress below and put "sign me up"!! You can also help me by clicking the picture located directly above and voting for me..