Kobe Bryant made his NBA debut with the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 3, 1996, kicking off a spectacular 20-year career. He then became the youngest player to ever debut in an NBA game at the age of 18 years and 72 days. Bryant barely saw action for six minutes off the bench in his debut, missing his only shot, grabbing one rebound, and blocking one shot Shaquille O’Neal led the Lakers with 35 points and 19 rebounds over a Timberwolves squad powered by a young Kevin Garnett.
Kobe Bryant who came off the bench his first season averaged just 7.6 points per game, 1.3 assists, and 1.9 rebounds and came off the bench in 71 games and was only named in the NBA-All rookie 2nd team. The main highlight of that season was in playoffs against the Jazz where Kobe who is one of the clutches players ever not just missed but air-balled 4 shots, rather this moment diminishing his ability, it only made him better and is now regarded as one the greatest ever to dribble the basketball. In his 2nd season alone he became an all-star while coming off the bench for the Lakers.
Kobe accomplished so much in his 20 years illustrious career, Bryant is a part of the Basketball Hall of Fame, he is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 33,643 points. He won five NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, two scoring titles, and was named league MVP in 2008, 18 All-Star selections, 15 All-NBA selections, and 12 All-Defensive Team selections.
Bryant’s life and career off the court were becoming just as amazing and important as his achievements on the court, he won an academy award for his animated short movie “Dear Basketball”. It was sadly cut short in January when the five-time winner and his daughter Gianna, and other passengers died in a helicopter crash.