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Kobe Bean Bryant died on January 26th, 2020. He left behind four children, a wife, and a world of fans. The tragic accident that resulted in his death meant that Kobe died far too young at the age of 41. As we look back on his life it is clear that he still left lasting memories on an incredible amount of people and achieved more in his 41 years than most ever will. Let’s take a look at the life of Kobe.

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There are 45 NBA players who have been drafted straight from high school, Kobe was one of them. Kobe was the thirteenth draft pick for the Charlotte Hornets but was immediately transferred for Vlade Divac by the Lakers.  It was a fortunate trade as since then Kobe has become one with the Lakers’ name and few can utter the history of Lakers without mentioning him and Shaq O’Neal. The two players worked together to deliver three consecutive NBA titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Kobe won the trophy again in 2009 and 2010.  He played under the number 8 and number 24 and both have since been retired by the Lakers in his honor.

It is no surprise why when you consider that he became the youngest player to ever score 30,000 points and eventually became the leading all-time scorer for the Lakers team. He was clearly on a different to the rest on the court and on four occasions won the All-Star MVP, more than any other player has won. Outside of the NBA he also won two gold medals in the Olympics in 2008 and 2012. Bryant holds the record for the youngest player to ever start in the NBA starting a game for the Lakers at just 18 years old and 158 days. A year later he became the youngest ever player to feature in an All Star game.

Bryant retired in 2016 but continued to work closely with basketball and a number of foundations. As he has a number of daughters, one of his passions was seeing a growing strength in the women’s game and he was a strong follower of the WNBA and the women’s national team. With a net worth of $600 million and assets in venture capital that were worth over $2 billion, Bryant clearly managed his money well and had a mind for business.

He was also incredibly philanthropic. He was the main name associated with After School All Stars, a youth program that helps children after school. He had business ventures as far afield as China and it serves as a perfect metaphor for the impact he left on the world. 

While many people debate over who was the greatest player of all time and mention both Jordan and Lebron, Kobe deserves to have his name in the conversation. His five NBA championships and his career records show that he was a behemoth of the sport. His ability, his endurance, and his tenacity were in a league of their own. While Jordan may have had more skills and Lebron more athletic presence, Kobe had a skillset and spirit that was unwavering. 

One thing that Kobe had on his resume that is better than both Jordan and Lebron was his outside game. He had an ability from outside the paint that neither hero could compete with. He still holds the record for most three-pointers scored in a game, at 12. 

While Bryant was setting records from a young age he was also setting them in the twilight of his career. He became the oldest player to ever score over 60 points in a game during his final game for the Lakers in 2016. This shows that throughout his long career he never stopped pushing the game and has ensured that his name will be remembered forever.