Nicknamed the 'Black Mamba," 15-time NBA all-star Kobe Bryant was born on Aug. 23, 1978, in Philadelphia. Bryant has helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships during his career.
Early on, Bryant took after his father, former NBA player Joe Bryant, who taught him how to play at the age of 3. He later played basketball in high school and stood out by his senior year, being selected as the National High School Player of the Year. Although he was heavily recruited by Duke University, he decided to go professional straight out of high school.
After being drafted to the Charlotte Hornets and traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant became the youngest player to be selected as an All-Star at the age of 19. By 2006, Bryant was a superstar. He scored 81 points in a game against the Toronto Raptors, the second-most points scored in NBA history.
As of December 2012, Bryant is the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points.
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(Photo: Todd Warshaw/Allsport/Getty Images)