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Summary Article: Bryant, Kobe (Bean)
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US basketball player. Playing as a shooting guard, he helped the Los Angeles Lakers win three consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) championships in 2000–02 and a further two 2009–10. In January 2006 he scored the second-most points ever in a NBA game when he scored 81 points against the Dallas Mavericks. He played for the Lakers for his entire career, retiring in 2016.

Career highlights

regular season scoring: 33,643 points (average 24.9); play-off scoring: 5,640 points (average 25.6)

NBA Championship 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010

NBA All-Star 1998, 2000–16

Olympic Games gold 2008, 2012

Awards

NBA Most Valuable Player (regular season) 2008

NBA Most Valuable Player (finals) 2009, 2010

In 1997, at age 18, Bryant became the youngest player ever to start a NBA game. In 1998 he started his first NBA All-Star Game. By 2012 he had played in his 14th All-Star game, winning the All-Star game Most Valuable Player (MVP) award four times. After his third NBA championship in 2002, Bryant had public disagreements both with teammate Shaquille O'Neal and with coach Phil Jackson. The Lakers reached the 2004 NBA Finals but were swept 4–0 by the Detroit Pistons and O'Neal and Jackson left the team soon afterwards. In 2007 Bryant won his second consecutive NBA scoring title. In 2008 Bryant won the league's MVP award and led the Lakers to the NBA Finals but they lost 4–2 to the Boston Celtics. After beating the Orlando Magic 4–1 in the 2009 Finals, Bryant and the Lakers gained revenge for the 2008 defeat with a 4–3 win over the Celtics in the 2010 Finals.

In the summer of 2003 Bryant was charged with sexual assault and the subsequent trial continued throughout much of the following season. The case was dismissed before a conclusion was reached and a civil lawsuit was settled out of court. Despite the absence of any conviction, the trial severely damaged Bryant's reputation and he lost many of his off-court endorsements. His father Joe Bryant also played in the NBA from 1975 to 1983.

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