Bryant was one of the biggest names in the sports world, for a long time until his retirement in 2016. He was for many years in the farthest peak of the league of athletes, with annual income of around SEK 400 million. He wrote his own chapters in the history of the basketball world and the prize collection was unique, including five NBA titles and two Olympic golds.
For 20 years he saved Los Angeles Lakers supporters with the best basketball since Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan. The comparison was inevitable.
Bryant ended his career in 2016, after 20 years in the Los Angeles Lakers. He played 1346 games and scored a total of 33 643 points (something only three players in history can match, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and recently LeBron James).
Bryant finished in style.
In his last game, against the Utah Jazz, he scored an incredible 60 points. For the sixth time in his career.
- You have been an inspiration to us all. Los Angeles loves you, said actor Jack Nicholson, who has been in the best spectator spot for many years."Training morale became well known and mythic"
The love for basketball was there early and when Kobe Bryant was seen as the nation's greatest talent in high school, stories were told that he had fun, before or after training, challenging his teammates on man-to-man matches. But not until ten points - it was a first to a hundred. And he often won 100-10 or better.
Kobe Bryant trained often and hard. Training morale became well known and mythic. He even trained on his own without a ball, as if he were dribbling against an invisible opponent. Something confirmed by teammates in the NBA. As a pro, there were workouts where Bryant didn't give up until he shot 400 shots.
It was hard training that refined the talent, which made Kobe Bryant one of the greatest in the history of the sport.
"It's about squeezing out the very last drop of the orange," he used to say.
He went straight from high school games to a life celebrated in the NBA, with the Lakers in Los Angeles.Not without scandals
Kobe Bryant touched many. He was loved - but also hated.
Just like Tiger Woods, infidelity was revealed which greatly tarnished his reputation. In 2003, he was arrested by police after being charged with rape. He admitted sex with a 19-year-old woman and was charged with rape. The woman dropped the charges after a financial agreement. In the wake of the scandal, allegations of infidelity followed with over a hundred women.
But after the scandal, Nike is said to have sold more Bryant shirts than ever, worldwide. Protected by many for his alleged infidelity, he managed to come back and be loved by his fans. Over time, many of the private wounds healed and in recent years the Bryant family showed a happy side, with daughters learning to live with their father's public.
There was also a page of Kobe Bryant that was rarely talked about. How he, like many of the world's best in his sports, was so emotional in his pursuit of success that his teammates ended up in the shadow. Kobe Bryant was not always loved as a good teammate, many claimed at the end of his career that he even bullied individual players.
The price collection was legendary. But all the trophies and titles as basketball pros were not enough. Kobe Bryant also won an Oscar in Hollywood. In 2018, he received a figurine with animator Glen Keane, in the best animated short film category for the self-produced "Dear Basketball" that Bryant wrote the script for himself."Known as a lone wolf"
The final away tour.
Kobe Bryant was 37 and on his way out of yet another press conference in New Orleans, one of the last. He was asked what he would advise himself as a 17-year-old, a guy with a rare talent who just two years later would be called "the new Michael Jordan".
Bryant pondered a little and replied:
- It hadn't gone. That guy had probably already pulled and this old guy is all that's left. I have to live with it. By the way, I don't think the younger version of myself had listened anyway.
Bryant was known as a lone wolf, who went his own way.Flying helicopter was one of Bryant's everyday lives
After retirement, Kobe Bryant devoted himself to charity.
The houses and the fast cars were everyday luxury.
He already owned a helicopter during his playing career.
"To avoid the traffic," he explained.
He took the helicopter to his daughter's football games, among other things.
At one point in 2017, the helicopter was used to make fun of Lakers former manager Rob Pelinka, according to the Los Angeles Times. Bryant had asked the pilot to turn off the engine during the trip and do some quick military maneuvers. Pelinka was terrified but Bryant who sat next door was unmoved.
Flying helicopter was part of Kobe Bryant's everyday life.
The last trip ended on a rock wall outside Los Angeles.