Remembering an American Titan and Local Hero: Kobe Bryant
Source: Kobe Bryant, 2014 @ Alexandra Walt on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/w1xzcp
By: The Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal*
On August 23, 1978, Kobe Bryant, a Philadelphia legend, was born. Kobe became more than a local phenomenon—he embraced the national stage at an early age in high school, becoming a fan favorite in the NBA, and Hollywood royalty among the Hollywood elites, not to mention Kobe was an international star the likes of which very few Americans have ever seen. Kobe’s career speaks for itself—on and off the basketball court—but he never lost track of his roots, his fans, his humbling beginnings, and the lessons he learned along the way, which he graciously instilled to his fans throughout his lifetime.
Kobe, the son of Joe Bryant, a former NBA player himself, began playing basketball at a young age. When Kobe’s father retired from the NBA and moved to Italy to begin a new playing career in 1984, Kobe embraced the Italian culture and his love for basketball continued to flourish. Like most of Europe, Italy was more focused on soccer, but Kobe became enthralled with basketball. At the age of six, Kobe knew basketball was going to be instrumental in his life, just like his father.
Joe Bryant’s career in Italy moved from Rieti, in the middle of the country, to Pistoia, and then Reggio Calabria, in the south, where he won Player of the Year Award twice. Following his father’s footsteps, Kobe would later win MVP honors in the NBA, along with many other recognitions. But in Italy, Kobe began to set himself apart from his peers. Playing the game ran in the family, and Kobe felt a connection with the sport in a country far away from where he would step into the international spotlight. In Italy, Kobe played on the Pallacanestro Reggiana youth team, the same team his father played for. Kobe stayed connected to Italy and his roots there—he often returned for charity events, referred to his upbringing there, and not only became fluent in Italian, but became known for his affection of other cultures. For example, in December 2019 Kobe made headlines for heckling Luka Doncic in Slovenian, taking his post-retirement trash talking to a new level. All of these instances pointed to Kobe’s likeability, and his character, which made him a well-liked celebrity throughout the world and one that many other athletes looked up to. The beginning of Kobe’s career took off when he returned to the Philadelphia area in 1991, and began his high school career.
Lower Merion Career
This saying of Kobe’s high school English teacher became an integral part of the basketball star’s lifestyle, a base for the Mamba Mentality that became synonymous with greatness. Whether he knew it or not, Mr. Fisk found the perfect way to describe Kobe’s career at Lower Merion High School, the launching point for a decorated NBA career.
Lower Merion hadn’t been known as a traditional basketball power; in the suburbs of Philadelphia, the school wasn’t labeled as the toughest program in the area. Kobe settled into his freshman year at Lower Merion simply because his family had settled in the area after returning from Europe at the completion of his father’s professional career. Suiting up in maroon, Kobe made the varsity roster immediately, and as his high school coach claimed, he began to “set the foundation and showed us how to do it.” Building the program certainly did not happen right away, as the Aces went 4-20 during that first season.
After a long four-win season, Kobe led Lower Merion to an impressive 77-13 record over the next three years, garnering national attention along the way as a rising star. In true Mamba fashion, Kobe broke out as a professional prospect during his junior season, where he averaged 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game. Leading the team by spending time at all five positions, his junior campaign ended with him earning the title of 1995 Pennsylvania Player of the Year.
The 1995-1996 senior year was just as spectacular, with Kobe averaging 30.8 points, 12 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4 steals, and 3.8 blocked shots per game. After starting the season at 1-3, Lower Merion won thirty straight games to end the year as PIAA State Champions with a 48-43 win over Erie Cathedral Prep. When Kobe took off his Lower Merion Aces jersey for the last time in 1996, he was the Naismith High School Player of the Year, the Gatorade Men’s National Basketball Player of the Year, a McDonald’s All-American, and a USA Today All-USA First Team selection. He finished his high school career with a Pennsylvania state record 2,883 points, one of the many accomplishments prompting his alma mater to retire his No. 33 jersey in 2002.
Kobe put the Philadelphia suburbs on the map, with his high school career generating so much excitement that scouts and media often roamed the halls, in addition to attending his games. While his basketball career was outstanding to the point of disbelief, Kobe’s reputation as a competitor extended far beyond the court. One of his teachers, John Osipowicz, recalls a time in class where the star wrote a short story about a player stepping up to the free throw line, with his team a point behind. With a surprise ending, the individual missed both shots and the team lost the game. Osipowicz reflects that Kobe “was so much of a winner, but even at 17 he was aware you could lose,” something that appeared to show the depths of the high-schooler’s basketball IQ. Kobe didn’t lose much throughout his career, but it was a possibility he was always aware of, something that contributed to his demanding nature, expecting not only himself, but also his teammates to put in more work than their competitors, every single day.
Having forgone college to enter the NBA draft, Lower Merion High School exists as a proud connection to Kobe Bryant’s legendary career. Having renamed the gym in his honor, future generations now have the opportunity to celebrate his contributions to the game. Kobe’s high school career translated directly into his professional career, and directly reflects Mr. Fisk’s mantra. A kid from the suburbs outworked all his peers, held all those around him accountable to his championship standards, and most memorably, he never once rested in the middle, becoming a legend in the game of basketball.
1996 – 2006 NBA Career
“[I]t wasn’t in vogue to take high school players” when the Los Angeles Lakers acquired an 18-year old Kobe Bryant in the 1996 NBA Draft. And yet, the Lakers decided to obtain Kobe from the Charlotte Hornets after watching his pre-draft workout. Little did the franchise know that Kobe would go on to become the greatest Los Angeles Laker of all time.
Kobe entered the league wearing the number 8. He went scoreless in his NBA debut. But even then “you could see the competitive fire and the nature of him as an individual.” In his rookie year, Kobe was named the Slam Dunk Champion during the 1997 NBA All-Star Weekend. When Kobe was 19 years old, he became the youngest-ever to start in an NBA All-Star Game. At the age of 20, he became an official starter for the Lakers.
Kobe continued to perfect his craft and nurture his competitive spirit under the guidance of Phil Jackson and with the support of Shaquille O’Neal. In his first NBA Finals appearance, Kobe emerged as a premier player and assisted the Lakers in winning its first NBA Championship in over a decade. The following year, Kobe and the Lakers routed every opponent standing in their way of the NBA Finals. In the 2001 NBA Finals, Kobe exhibited exceptional athleticism, remarkable endurance and fierce leadership in order to earn the Lakers a consecutive championship title.
During 2001-2002 season, Kobe played in 80 regular season games for the first time in his career. He averaged 25 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds per game and successfully led to the Lakers to its third straight NBA Finals. Moreover, Kobe’s stellar performance against the New Jersey Nets enabled the Lakers to secure it third consecutive NBA championship. However, Kobe remained unsatisfied and unwavering in his quest to dominate the league. In 2003 and 2004, he was named to the All-NBA First Team and NBA All-Defensive First Team due to his unique scoring ability and defensive prowess. On January 22, 2006, Kobe scored an astonishing 81 points and willed the Lakers to “victory against the Toronto Raptors.” In his final years wearing the number eight, Kobe was recognized by all as an NBA All-Star who was able to “pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of [his] ability.”
2006 – 2016 NBA Career
The year 2006 marked the halfway point in Kobe’s 20-year NBA career. Hanging up his number 8 Los Angeles Lakers jersey, Kobe adopted the number 24 at the beginning of the 2006-07 season, a return to the number he had donned early in high school. The change was intended to create a “clean slate” for Kobe as he matured in both his professional and personal lives. Instead of slowing down, however, the legend was preparing to play some of the best basketball of his career.
Strictly by the numbers, Kobe’s last ten years in the NBA equaled, and even exceeded, the offensive output of his first ten. Early in 2006, he scored 81 points in a historic game against the Toronto Raptors, a single-game showing only surpassed by the Philadelphia Warriors’ Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 100 points against the New York Knicks in 1962. During the period between 2006 and 2016, Kobe averaged 28.33 points per game; in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, he averaged more than 30 points per game. In fact, during the 2014-2015 season, Bryant overtook Michael Jordan to become the third-highest point scorer in the history of the NBA.
The back half of Kobe’s career was replete with both individual and team accomplishments. This ten-year period saw him named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the first and only time; the award was bestowed on him in 2008. He won gold medals as a member of Team USA at the Olympics in both 2008 and 2012. Every single All-Star Game between 2006 and 2016 included Kobe Bryant. He captured his fourth and fifth NBA championship rings in 2009 and 2010 in matchups against the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics, respectively. Following a string of injuries, his larger-than-life NBA career ended on April 13, 2016 after a win against the Utah Jazz. Despite these injuries, Kobe scored 60 points in his final game, a league record for most points scored in a player’s last game that still stands today.
This period was significant for Kobe off the court, as well. He became a father to Gianna Bryant in 2006 and to Bianka Bryant in 2016, the second and third of his four daughters. In 2013, he co-founded an investment firm called Bryant Stibel with Web.com founder Jeff Stibel, and he launched a media company called Granity with the goal of “creating new ways to tell stories around sports.” In fact, Granity was responsible for creating an Oscar-winning short film featuring Kobe’s poem “Dear Basketball,” which he released in 2015 to announce his retirement from professional basketball. With all of these accomplishments in mind, one thing is clear: while 2016 may have marked the end of Kobe Bryant’s time in the NBA, it also marked the beginning of “what would have been just as meaningful a second act.”
After his retirement from basketball in 2016, some of Kobe’s peers have noted they had never seen him happier than the last three years of his life. The Lakers retired both of his numbers, 8 and 24, in 2017. In 2018, Kobe won an Oscar for Dear Basketball, in the Best Animated Short Film category. The film was based on a poem Kobe wrote for the Players’ Tribune during his final NBA season. Kobe was also involved in many investment projects, including Bryant Stibel & Co., an investment firm Kobe co-founded before retirement. As of 2019, the firm invested in “tech, media, data, and companies believed to have the potential to become ‘unicorns.’”
Outside of his post-retirement professional accomplishments, Kobe has stayed involved with sports. In 2018, Kobe launched the Mamba Sports Academy. This academy supports youth programs in a variety of sports. In addition, Kobe mentored many athletes, inside and out of basketball, and male and female.
Kobe’s greatest accomplishment, on and off the court, was his family, which includes his wife, Vanessa and his four daughters: Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri. Spending time more quality time with his family, was the best part of retirement for the NBA legend. Kobe wanted to “foster a love of sports in daughters,” and in 2018, he wrote a children’s book, Legacy and the Queen, to inspire his daughters to play sports and to work hard. Part of the reason he founded the Mamba Sports Academy were for his daughters, and he coached Gianna and her Mamba basketball team. Kobe never felt he needed a son because Gianna would carry on the Bryant family basketball legacy. Finally, Kobe loved being a dad, and specifically he loved being a girl dad. Through all of his retirement activities, that fact shines through.
Kobe’s Mamba Mentality permeated into the lives of every one of his teammates, both at the professional and Olympic level, as well as people of every profession. Defined as an unending desire to capitalize each and every opportunity to get better, Kobe approached every practice with the goal of pushing himself and his teammates to their full potential. Legendary players, such as Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Shaquille O’Neil, each unquestionably attributed a portion of their success in the sport to their encounters with Kobe and his mentality. In an interview just a few weeks before his untimely passing, Kobe explained that “he was born talented, but worked as if he had no talent.”
In the realm of youth sports, Kobe’s training as a father of four translated into an unending desire to utilize his talents for the next generation of athletes. In 2018, the Mamba Sports Academy opened in Thousand Oaks, California, offering a variety of training opportunities for young athletes. His own daughters, Gianna and Natalia, each harnessed their respective athletic talents utilizing this platform, along with thousands of others. In the wake of his passing, his legacy of the Mamba Academy will continue to provide the opportunity of for participants at all ages to get a taste of the eternal Mamba Mentality.
Testimonials from Writers
“When I think of Kobe Bryant, the first thing that comes to mind is his one-of-a-kind mentality. Admittedly, I also think about the countless number of NBA championships, All-Star games, Olympic medals, and other on the court successes, but I see these accomplishments as being a result of his mentality, and not the other way around. The vast outpouring of love coming from every basketball player, past and present, I believe is a great tribute to just how deeply this mentality permeated the game. Mamba Mentality is something I will never forget because I believe it will continue to live on through each and every one of us.”
- Catherine DeSilvester, Class of ‘20
“Kobe epitomized the idea that there is no such thing as peaking. Even after he'd gone as far as he could go as a professional basketball player, he never stopped finding new ways to grow, learn, and chase excellence. And he lifted up those around him, too- as a coach, as an entrepreneur, and as the supportive "girl dad" of his four daughters. While it's hard to believe that he's gone, it's a comfort to think of all the good he left behind.”
- Rachel Insalaco, Class of ‘21
“‘Mamba Mentality is a constant quest to find answers. It’s that infinite curiosity to want to be better, to figure things out. Mamba Mentality is you’re going, you’re competing, you’re not worried about the end result . . . You’re not worried about what people may say. You’re not worried about disappointing others. You’re not worried about any of that, you’re just focused on being in the moment.’ Kobe Bryant’s mental approach to the game of basketball shaped my personal perspective on life.”
- Nkiruka Umegbolu, Class of ‘20
“Growing up as a college basketball coach’s kid, Kobe Bryant was a name I’ve known from the time I could talk. I spent years on the sidelines studying the game, seeing players attempting to incorporate the Mamba Mentality day-in and day-out, knowing just how important he meant to players at every level of basketball. Whether you’re a Lakers fan or not, Kobe is the name you associate with true leadership, with championships, with holding those around you accountable.
And aside from every legendary accomplishment on the court, I felt a connection to Kobe because of the bond he shared with his daughter over the game of basketball, something that is very close to my family. As the daughter of a #GirlDad in the basketball world, I related to the courtside conversations and teachable moments we saw him share with Gigi. Thank you, Kobe, for showing us what it means to be great, but more importantly, what it means to love through the game.”
- Kirsten Reilly, Class of ’21
*Gregory Bailey, Editor in Chief; Catherine DeSilvester, Executive Editor; Laurel Stout, Managing Editor of Technology; Nkiruka Umegbolu, Managing Editor of Symposia and Special Projects; Rachel Insalaco, Staff Writer; Kirsten Reilly, Staff Wri
 See Kobe Bryant Biography, Biography (last updated Jan. 30, 2020), https://www.biography.com/athlete/kobe-bryant (providing dates and place of birth); Jeré Longman & Sarah Mervosh, Kobe Bryant, Philly Guy, N.Y. Times (Jan. 28, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/28/sports/kobe-bryant-philadelphia.html (highlighting Kobe’s Philadelphia roots)
 See Longman & Mervosh, supra note 1 (discussing Kobe’s impact on greater Philadelphia area); Brooks Barnes, N.B.A. Stars Get Into the Hollywood Game, N.Y. Times (Feb. 15, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/business/media/kobe-bryant-lebron-james-kevin-durant-hollywood.html (discussing Kobe’s involvement in Hollywood and film); Kristine Malicse, ‘The World Lost a Giant’: Kobe Bryant Mourned, Remembered by Celebrities Following Death, Daily News (Jan. 26, 2020, 5:25 PM), https://www.dailynews.com/2020/01/26/celebrities-react-with-shock-as-they-remember-kobe-bryant-following-fatal-helicopter-crash/ (detailing condolences and stories from other celebrities on impact Kobe had).
 Kobe Bryant, Dear Basketball, Players Tribune (Nov. 29, 2015), https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/dear-basketball (noting his love and lessons from playing basketball); Longman & Mervosh, supra note 1 (detailing Kobe’s connection to Philadelphia and high school Lower Merion).
 See Tom Kington, Kobe Bryant Mourned in Italy, Where He Spent Part of His Childhood, Seattle Times (Jan. 26, 2020, 5:05 PM), https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/kobe-bryant-mourned-in-italy-where-he-spent-part-of-his-childhood/ (following similarities between father and son).
 See Claudio Lavanga, A View of Kobe Bryant From His Childhood Home in Italy, NBC News (Jan. 27, 2020, 12:00 PM), https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/view-kobe-bryant-his-childhood-home-italy-n1123716 (discussing Bryant family move to Italy and Kobe’s obsession with basketball).
 See id. (noting difference between American and Italian sports).
 See Bryant, supra note 3 (providing Kobe’s retirement poem, and reflecting on his love for basketball “[a]s a six-year-old boy”).
 See Lavanga, supra note 5 (discussing Joe Bryant’s Italian career and family’s move).
 See, e.g., Kobe Bryant Career Achievements, Lakers Universe, http://www.lakersuniverse.com/kobe/kobe_bryant_achievements.htm (last visited Feb. 2, 2019) (listing career achievements).
 See Kington, supra note 4 (providing in Italy, “Kobe began his climb to greatness”); see also Lavanga, supra note 5 (“[I]t was immediately clear [Kobe] was from another planet, a cut above us all.”).
 See Kington, supra note 4 (providing connection among Kobe’s father and love for basketball); Longman & Mervosh, supra note 1 (“Kobe was worldly in a town that was notably parochial. He grew up in Italy as his father completed his professional career, and became fluent in Italian and Spanish.”).
 See Kington, supra note 4 (noting Kobe’s Italian basketball roots).
 See Lavanga, supra note 5 (reporting childhood friends of Kobe last saw him in Italy in 2016 for sponsored event); Serena Winters, Kobe Bryant Speaks Fluent Italian at Charity Event, Lakers Nation (April, 9, 2015), https://www.lakersnation.com/video-kobe-bryant-speaks-fluent-italian-at-charity-event/2015/04/09/ (depicting Kobe speaking Italian at charity event). Kobe’s affection of Italy was well known: “In a 2011 interview on Radio Deejay, one of the most popular radio stations in Italy, Kobe Bryant said, in perfect Italian: ‘I grew up here in Italy, it's a country that will always be close to my heart. Always.”’ Lavanga, supra note 5.
 See Meredith Cash, Kobe Bryant Shocked Luka Doncic by Trash-Talking Him in His Native Slovenian From Courtside Seats, Bus. Insider. (Dec. 31, 2019, 1:12 PM) https://www.businessinsider.com/video-kobe-bryant-luka-doncic-slovenian-trash-talk-2019-12 (noting Doncic’s surprise).
 See, e.g., Malicse, supra note 2 (detailing celebrities’ thoughts on Kobe’s impact and passing).
 See Longman & Mervosh, supra note 1 (discussing Kobe’s high school success).
Kathleen Elkins, Kobe Bryant Lives By This Mantra From His High School English Teacher, CNBC (Sept. 22, 2018), https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/21/kobe-bryant-lives-by-this-mantra-from-his-high-school-english-teacher.html (quoting Kobe’s English Teacher, Mr. Fisk).
See id; see also Martin Rogers, Kobe Bryant: ‘Lower Merion Made Me Who I Am,’ USA Today Sports (Apr. 13, 2016), https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2016/03/27/kobe-bryant-lower-merion-high-school-lakers-legend/82321372/ (highlighting Kobe Bryant’s career at Lower Merion High School).
See Rogers, supra note 19 (discussing schools in the Philadelphia suburbs were labeled as “soft” ).
See id. (stating Kobe didn’t enroll in Lower Merion because of its basketball program, but because it was his assigned school district).
See id. (quoting Gregg Downer, Kobe’s high school coach).
See id. (stating record for Kobe’s first season as a varsity player at Lower Merion).
See Edward Sutelan, Looking Back at Kobe Bryant’s Time At Lower Merion High School, Penn Live (Jan. 26, 2020), https://www.pennlive.com/sports/2020/01/looking-back-at-kobe-bryants-time-at-lower-merion.html (detailing Kobe Bryant’s four seasons at Lower Merion High School).
 See id. (providing Kobe’s statistics for the 1994-1995 season at Lower Merion).
See id. (detailing honors earned by Kobe during his junior season).
See id. (providing Kobe’s statistics for the 1995-1996 season at Lower Merion).
 See id. (detailing Lower Merion’s championship season).
See id. (listing Kobe’s awards and titles after his senior year, state championship season)
See Rogers, supra note 19 (discussing Kobe’s impact on the attention brought to Lower Merion High School); see also Dylan Fearon, Kobe’s Former High School Coach Reflects On The NBA Legend’s Career, Life, Fox 56 (Jan. 28, 2020), https://fox56.com/news/local/kobes-former-high-school-reflects-on-the-nba-legends-career-life (providing personal stories from one of Kobe’s high school coaches, Jeremy Treatman).
See id. (reporting stories about Kobe’s time in the classroom).
See id. (detailing perspective of Kobe’s teacher)
See id. “’[Kobe] was a difficult teammate in terms of how demanding he was,’ said Downer, who has won two subsequent state titles. ‘But I think he was a good teammate in the sense that he held people accountable. I just don’t think he had real natural leadership skills at that age. His form of communication was ‘If you’re not giving 110%, you’re going to hear from me.’’” (quoting Gregg Downer, Kobe’s high school coach).
See Sutelan, supra note 24 (“Several years later, Bryant would donate $411,000 to the school for educational displays . . . and the school renamed the gym in Bryant’s honor.”).
See Elkins, supra note 17 (detailing how Kobe incorporated his English teacher’s mantra into his daily life).
Broderick Turner, Jerry West Didn't Need Much Time To Make Up His Mind About Kobe Bryant, The Chicago Tribune (April 14, 2016), https://www.chicagotribune.com/la-sp-kobe-draft-day-jerry-west-20160417-story.html.
 See id.
See Justin Tinsley and Aaron Dodson, No. 8 and No 24: Kobe v. Kobe, The Undefeated (December 18, 2017), https://theundefeated.com/features/kobe-vs-kobe-bryant-lakers-numbers-8-and-24-jersey-retirement/ (“Before playing his first game, Bryant chose the No. 8 for his Lakers jersey: the sum of 1, 4 and 3, numbers he’d worn at the now-defunct Adidas/Reebok ABCD Camp”).
See This Week in History: Kobe Bryant Makes NBA Debut in 1996, NBA (November 3, 2017), https://www.nba.com/article/2017/11/01/week-history-kobe-bryant-makes-nba-debut-los-angeles-lakers-1996.
 Michael Pina, To Understand the End of Kobe Bryant, You Must Understand Where It Began, Bleacher Report (February 12, 2016), https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2615631-to-understand-the-end-of-kobe-bryant-you-must-understand-where-it-began.
 See id.
 See Joey Ramirez, Lakers History: Kobe's High-Flying All-Star Debut, NBA (August 22, 2018), https://www.nba.com/lakers/news/180823-lakers-history-kobes-high-flying-all-star-debut.
 See Ahnaf Ahmed, Ranking Kobe Bryant's Best and Worst Seasons, Bleacher Report (September 20, 2011), https://bleacherreport.com/articles/858659-ranking-kobe-bryants-best-and-worst-seasons#slide5.
 See Kobe Bryant Timeline: A Look At The Life Of The Lakers Legend, The Orange County Register (January 26, 2020), https://www.ocregister.com/2020/01/26/kobe-bryant-timeline-a-look-at-the-life-of-the-lakers-legend/.
 See Kobe Bryant: A Look Back at His First NBA Championship, The Bleacher Report (June 20, 2010), https://bleacherreport.com/articles/409046-the-first-championship-of-kobe-bryant
 See Kobe Bryant: A Look Back at His Second NBA Championship, The Bleacher Report (June 21, 2010), https://bleacherreport.com/articles/409211-the-second-championship-of-kobe-bryant
See NBA Advanced Stats: Kobe Bryant, NBA https://stats.nba.com/player/977/ (last visited Feb. 1, 2020).
 See id.
 See Kobe Bryant: A Look Back at His Third NBA Championship, The Bleacher Report (June 22, 2010), https://bleacherreport.com/articles/409665-kobe-bryant-a-look-back-at-his-third-nba-championship.
 See A Look At Some of Kobe Bryant’s Career Highlights, The Associated Press (January 26, 2020), https://apnews.com/3b795ba7903fecba44c7df88d1c80dbe.
 See Lorenzo Reyes, Remembering Kobe Bryant: Career Highlights Of The Los Angeles Lakers Legend, USA Today (January 26, 2020), https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/lakers/2020/01/26/kobe-bryant-la-lakers-legends-career-highlights/4583675002/ (“That marked the second-highest single-game scoring performance in NBA history, second behind only Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 from the 1962 season.”).
 See NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's Statement On Passing Of Kobe Bryant, NBA (January 26, 2020), https://www.nba.com/article/2020/01/26/nba-commissioner-adam-silvers-statement-passing-kobe-bryant
 See Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, Kobe Bryant career highlights: From HS player of the year to his final game, New York Post (Jan. 26, 2020), https://nypost.com/2020/01/26/kobe-bryant-career-highlights-from-hs-player-of-the-year-to-his-final-game/ (noting date that Kobe was first drafted into NBA in 1996 and date of his retirement in 2016).
 See Chris Bumbaca, When and why Kobe Bryant changed Los Angeles Lakers jersey number from No. 8 to No. 24, USA Today (Jan. 29, 2020), https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/lakers/2020/01/29/why-kobe-bryant-changed-los-angeles-lakers-jersey-8-24/4607227002/ (recounting why Kobe Bryant switched numbers at beginning of 2006-07 NBA season).
 See id. (‘“Then 24 is a growth from that,” [Bryant] told ESPN in 2017. “Physical attributes aren’t there the way they used to be, but the maturity level is greater. Marriage, kids. Start having a broader perspective being one of the older guys on the team now, as opposed to being the youngest. Things evolve. It’s not to say one is better than the other or one’s a better way to be. It’s just growth.”’).
 See Fitz-Gibbon, supra note 59 (listing Kobe’s on-court accomplishments between 2006 and 2016).
 See Bumbaca, supra note 60 (“Remarkably, his offensive [production] was nearly equal in both jerseys. Bryant scored 16,777 while wearing No. 8, and 16.866 as No. 24.”).
 See “NBA Single Game Leaders and Records for Points,” Basketball Reference (last visited Feb. 1, 2020), https://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/pts_game.html (listing NBA records for players scoring most points in single game).
 See “Kobe Bryant,” Basketball Reference (last visited Feb. 1, 2020), https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bryanko01.html (providing statistical overview of Kobe’s 20-year NBA career).
 See Fitz-Gibbon, supra note 59 (noting that Bryant surpassed Jordan’s NBA scoring record on December 14, 2014); see also Ben Golliver, Lakers’ Kobe Bryant passes Michael Jordan on NBA’s all-time scoring list, Sports Illustrated (Dec. 14, 2014), https://www.si.com/nba/2014/12/15/kobe-bryant-michael-jordan-nba-scoring-list-third-place-lakers-bulls (“Bryant entered Sunday with 32,284 points, needing eight points to tie and nine points to pass Jordan, who amassed 32,292 points during his Hall of Fame career with the Bulls and Wizards. Bryant set the record by hitting a pair of free throws with 5:24 remaining in the second quarter. Only Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points) and Karl Malone (36,928) sit above Bryant on the scoring list.”).
 For a further discussion about Kobe’s achievements in professional basketball between 2006 and 2016, see infra notes 68-73 and accompanying text.
 See Fitz-Gibbon, supra note 59 (recounting that Kobe was named “NBA Most Valuable Player” in 2008).
 See “Kobe Bryant,” Team USA (last visited Feb. 1, 2020), https://www.teamusa.org/usa-basketball/athletes/Kobe-Bryant (listing Kobe’s Olympic achievements as member of Team USA).
 See Andrew Lynch, There’s no question: Kobe Bryant is the most important All-Star ever, Fox Sports (Feb. 14, 2016), https://www.foxsports.com/nba/story/kobe-bryant-2016-all-star-game-final-best-ever-michael-jordan-kareem-abdul-jabbar-magic-johnson-021416 (“The Los Angeles Lakers star has been selected to the All-Star Game 18 times in his 20-year career, only missing out on a nomination in his rookie season, before he’d become a superstar, and because of the 1998-99 lockout, which wiped that season’s festivities off the calendar.”).
 See Fitz-Gibbon, supra note 59 (providing dates of Kobe’s fourth and fifth NBA championship wins).
 See Jill Martin, Kobe Bryant: Remembering the final game of ‘The Black Mamba’, CNN (Jan. 27, 2020), https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/26/sport/remembering-kobe-bryant-last-game-nba-spt-intl/index.html (noting that Kobe’s final game was on April 13, 2016, and quoting Kobe’s poem “Dear Basketball,” in which he wrote “[b]ut my body knows it’s time to say goodbye”).
 See Laura Wagner, Kobe Bryant Breaks Scoring Record In His Final NBA Game, WBUR News (Apr. 13, 2016), https://www.wbur.org/npr/474107238/kobe-bryants-life-and-career-by-the-numbers ( quoting an Associated Press report that stated “[n]o one in NBA history ever scored more points in his last game”).
 For a further discussion about milestones in Kobe’s life off the basketball court between 2006 and 2016, see infra notes 75-77 and accompanying text.
 See Ellen Cranley, How Vanessa Bryant became ‘Queen Mamba’, Business Insider (Jan. 29, 2020), https://www.businessinsider.com/vanessa-bryant-life-bio-marriage-to-kobe-in-photos-2020-1 (providing birth dates of Gianna and Bianka Bryant).
 See Kobe Bryant’s Death Cuts Short a Budding Business Career, New York Times (Jan. 27, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/27/business/dealbook/kobe-bryant-business.html (summarizing Kobe Bryant’s business ventures); see also Cynthia Littleton, Kobe Bryant’s Death Cuts Short a Promising Second Act in Entertainment, Variety (Jan. 28, 2020), https://variety.com/2020/film/features/kobe-bryant-hollywood-entertainment-granity-studios-dear-basketball-1203483095/ (noting that Kobe first launched production company in 2013); “About Us,” Granity Studios (last visited Feb. 1, 2020), https://granitystudios.com/about/ (“Formed by NBA Legend Kobe Bryant, Granity Studios is an award-winning multimedia original content company focused on creating new ways to tell stories around sports.”).
 See Klaritza Rico, Kobe Bryant’s ‘Dear Basketball’ Is Now Available to Watch for Free, Variety (Jan. 27, 2020), https://variety.com/2020/film/news/kobe-bryant-dear-basketball-watch-for-free-1203482763/ (“The Academy Award-winning film, narrated by Bryant, is based on a poem he wrote in November 2015 in The Players’ Tribune to announce his retirement from the sport.”).
 Barack Obama (@BarackObama), Twitter (Jan. 26, 2020, 4:56PM), https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/1221552460768202756.
 See Matt Peralta, Lakers News: Lebron James Had Never Seen Kobe Bryant Happier Than Being with Family, Lakers Nation (Feb. 1, 2020), https://www.lakersnation.com/lakers-news-lebron-james-had-never-seen-kobe-bryant-happier-than-being-with-family/2020/02/01/.
 See Joey Ramirez, Lakers Retire Kobe Bryant’s Jersey Numbers, NBA (Dec. 18, 2017), https://www.nba.com/lakers/news/171218-kobe-bryant-jersey-retirement (reporting Kobe ended his speech with “Mamba Out”).
 See Scott Gleeson and Bryan Alexander, Kobe Bryant wins Oscar for animated short film ‘Dear Basketball’, USA Today (Mar. 4, 2018), https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/lakers/2018/03/04/kobe-bryant-wins-oscar-animated-short-film-dear-basketball/394092002/.
 See id.; see also Bryant, supra note 3.
 See Edward C. Baig, Ex-NBA Superstar Kobe Bryant scores points as an investor by preaching patience, USA Today (Sept. 19, 2019), https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/09/19/kobe-bryant-offers-investment-advice-patient-and-trust-people/2356763001/ (reporting “Bryant Stibel & Co. has access to more than $2 billion in resources under management.”).
 See About the Mamba Way, Mamba Sports Academy, https://mambasportsacademy.com/about/ (last visited Feb. 2, 2020).
 See id.
 See id.
 See Charles Curtis, Kobe Bryant’s Legacy Lives on in the countless athletes he mentored, USA Today (Jan. 27, 2020), https://ftw.usatoday.com/2020/01/kobe-bryant-legacy-mentor-nba-wnba (listing Kyrie Irving, Richard Sherman, Candace Parker, Novak Djokovic, Sabrina Ionescu, and others as Kobe’s mentees).
 See Emily Cavanagh, 10 Photos show how Kobe Bryant loved being a dad to girls and urged his ‘princesses’ to play sports, including basketball, Insider (Jan. 28, 2020), https://www.insider.com/kobe-bryant-photos-show-love-daughters-urged-to-play-sports-2020-1.
 See id.
 See id.
 See id.
 See id.
 See id.
 See Hunter Felt, Say hello to the bad guy: How Kobe Bryant crafted the Mamba mentality, The Guardian (Jan. 29, 2020) https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/jan/29/kobe-bryant-mamba-mentality (showing how Kobe’s determined mentality was felt by all of those around him at every level of basketball).
 See Christinia Montford, What Mamba Mentality Actually Means, According to Kobe Bryant, Cheatsheet.com (Jan. 31, 2020) https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/what-mamba-mentality-actually-means-according-to-kobe-bryant.html/ (explaining Bryant’s mentality a “always aimed to kill the opposition”).
 See Joe Vardon, Kobe Bryant’s ‘Mamba Mentality’ is his legacy, but so is his mentoring of LeBron James Kyrie Irving and others, The Atlantic (Jan. 26, 2020), https://theathletic.com/1562560/2020/01/26/kobe-bryants-mamba-mentality-is-his-legacy-but-so-is-his-mentoring-of-lebron-james-kyrie-irving-and-others/ (showing plethora of great basketball players who all spoke about how Mamba Mentality made them better players)
 See Evan Berryhill, How Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Mentality Influenced The World, The Federalist (Jan. 29, 2020) https://thefederalist.com/2020/01/29/how-kobe-bryants-mamba-mentality-influenced-the-world/ (showing how many believed it was impossible to question Kobe’s work ethic and dedication to basketball).
 See Jerry Bembry, Kobe Bryant’s Impact on Youth Sports: ‘He was a voice who opened up doors, The Undefeated (Jan. 28, 2020), https://theundefeated.com/features/kobe-bryants-impact-on-youth-sports-he-was-a-voice-who-opened-up-doors/ (explaining true stories about Kobe’s outreach to players from every area of country).
 See Rob Goldberg, Kobe Bryant to Open Mamba Sports Academy to Train Youth Athletes, Bleacher Report (Dec. 3 2018) (showing establishment of Mamba Academy as place for youth to pursue training for various sports); see also Vardon, supra note 3 (detailing how Kobe’s Academy displayed his willingness to counsel so many others within sport).
 See Kelly McCarthy, How Kobe Bryant championed growth of women’s basketball through Mamba Cup and more, ABCnews (Jan. 27, 2020), https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/kobe-bryant-championed-growth-womens-basketball-mamba-cup/story?id=68560369 (illustrating Bryant’s former teammate Derek Fisher’s desire to “continue to push for what [Bryant] was most recently striving for in terms of equality and opportunity for young girls, for girls like his daughters that are still with us”).
 See id. (explaining that Kobe’s mentality and dedication to sports at every level will continue to live on).
 Drew Garrison, Kobe Bryant Explains What ‘Mamba Mentality’ Is While Revealing His New Nike Shoe, Silver Screen and Roll (August 14, 2017), https://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2017/8/14/16144126/la-lakers-news-kobe-bryant-nike-mamba-mentality-shoe-ad.