Named in honor of the 20 year basketball star, Kobe Bryant Day is celebrated each year in his memory.
History of Kobe Bryant Day
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1978, Kobe Bean Bryant would grow up to become a young star in the National Basketball League (NBA). Many people don’t realize that Kobe was actually named after the rather expensive Japanese steak after his father saw it on the menu.
Kobe’s early childhood was spent in Italy where his father was a basketball player with the European league. In fact, Kobe was fluent in Italian and he also loved soccer and other parts of Italian culture.
When he was 13 years old, Kobe’s family moved back to the United States where he attended Lower Merion High School in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Until Kobe arrived, this high school basketball team had not been to the state championship in 53 years.
Following four amazing high school basketball years, Kobe Bryant decides not to go to college and, instead, goes directly into the NBA. He was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, but that only lasted for 16 days. It was then that he was picked up by the Los Angeles Lakers where he lived out his 20 year basketball career, where he earned five titles.
In the last couple of seasons of his career, Kobe struggled with a variety of injuries that kept him from playing. This included a fractured knee, torn Achilles’ tendon and Achilles’ surgery. After so many health difficulties, Bryant finally decided to make the 2016 season his last.
In addition to his stellar career as a player for the National Basketball League, Kobe Bryant also represented the United States on the Olympic basketball team. He won two gold medals, in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012.
Kobe’s personal life as a family man started just a couple of years after entering into the NBA. Kobe met his future wife, Vanessa, when he was 20 and she was only 17 and still in high school. They were married not long after. The couple went on to have four daughters: Natalia Diamante, Gianna Marie-Onore, Bianka Bella and Capri Kobe.
On January 26, he and his 13-year-old daughter were riding in a helicopter, as Bryant would regularly ride in helicopters in Los Angeles to avoid infamous traffic in the city. A group of nine was on its way to a girls basketball tournament and the crash caused five different families to lose loved ones when the helicopter went down on the side of a California hillside. Bryant was only 41 years old.
After his retirement in 2016, the city of Los Angeles had voted to make August 24 Kobe Bryant Day in honor of the philanthropy of the basketball star and his wife through the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation. This foundation was dedicated to bringing improvement to the lives of families and youths in need, particularly by encouraging youth to participate in sports and stay active.
August 24 was chosen as Kobe Bryant Day because of the two numbers of his jerseys for the LA Lakers: 8 and 24.
Kobe Bryant Day was also officially endorsed by the Orange County Board of Supervisors in California in August 2020, when the board voted unanimously to declare August 24 as Kobe Bryant day.
Kobe Bryant Day Timeline
Kobe Bryant is Born
Kobe is born on August 23 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to parents Pamela Cox Bryant and Joe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant plays high school basketball
After living in Europe for several years while his dad played basketball in Italy, Kobe played for Lower Merion High School in a suburb of Philadelphia.
Kobe Bryant joins the NBA
With a promising career, Kobe foregoes college and is drafted directly into the NBA after high school. He joins the Charlotte Hornets for only 16 days until he is traded to the LA Lakers.
Kobe Bryant retires from basketball
Following a stellar 20 year career in professional basketball, Kobe Bryant retires after several injuries in previous seasons.
Kobe Bryant is killed
With seven others including Gianna, his 13-year-old daughter, Kobe dies in a helicopter crash on January 26 in California.
How to Celebrate Kobe Bryant Day
Go ahead and celebrate Kobe Bryant Day with some of these ideas:
Give a Donation to Charity
Kobe Bryant and his wife were known for their efforts and activity within the charity world, meaning that this would be a great time to make a donation.
The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KVBFF) was started in 2007 to help youth by encouraging them to be involved with sports. Other charitable work that was supported by Bryant included the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the United Way of Los Angeles, Stand Up to Cancer, After School All-Stars and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
One charity that was founded in honor of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, also called “Gigi”, is the Mamba and Mambacita Foundation. As Kobe’s daughter, Gianna, was a promising girls’ basketball player, the mission of this non-profit organization is to support the young women and under-served athletes in sports.
Learn Some Interesting Facts About Kobe Bryant
One way to celebrate Kobe Bryant Day is to learn a few things about his career that might be inspirational. Of course, Kobe has some impressive statistics that include:
Kobe holds the highest points per game average for a single campaign, coming in at 35.4 for the ‘05-’06 basketball season.
Bryant changed numbers halfway through his career, starting with number 8 and then switching to number 24 in 2015-2016. He did this in honor of the number he had in high school in Pennsylvania.
Kobe was not only a winner on the basketball court, but he also won an Oscar Award for the Best Animated Short Film in 2018. This was a film that he narrated with a poem he wrote to announce his retirement.
Bryant holds the #2 record for highest scoring points in one game, with 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. The person with the highest is 100 points in one game by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.
Visit Los Angeles
Because his career was 20 years in the same city, Los Angeles, California has quite a bit of Kobe’s influence around it. For instance, around 300 different Kobe Bryant murals can be found around the city to honor the former basketball player and his daughter, Gianna. More seem to appear throughout the city (and the world) every year when Kobe Bryant Day comes around.
Some people consider Staples Center in Los Angeles to be “The House the Kobe Built”. This is because Bryant helped the LA Lakers to win 5 championship titles for the NBA in the 20 years of his career. The Staples center became the home of the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers in 1999.
Kobe Bryant Day FAQs
Who is Kobe Bryant’s uncle?
Chubby Cox, who briefly played in the NBA for the Washington Bullets, is the brother of Kobe Bryant’s mother, Pam Cox.
Did Kobe Bryant’s dad play for the NBA?
Yes. Joe Bryant, Kobe’s dad, played eight seasons in the NBA, played ten years in Europe and then went into coaching.
Did Kobe Bryant go to college?
No. Kobe Bryant went straight from high school into the NBA, where his father and uncle had also played.
How did Kobe Bryant die?
Along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven other passengers, Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in California in January 2020.
Was Kobe Bryant retired when he died?
Yes. Kobe Bryant retired from his 20 year NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016, almost four years before he died.