Born in Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant was the son of a well-traveled basketball player, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant. He spent some of his youth in Italy, where his father played professionally for a European league, before moving back to Philadelphia, where Bryant was drafted out of high school in 1996. He spent nearly his entire career as a shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships and scoring 33,643 points during his career. Bryant was the league MVP in the 2007–2008 season and an 18-time All Star. While his skills on the court were undeniable, Bryant was extremely competitive and known for his temper. And, in 2003, his image was tarnished when he was charged with sexual assault, causing him to lose endorsement deals. He and the accuser reached a settlement in 2004.
After retiring from basketball in 2016, Bryant founded Granity Studios. Dear Basketball, which he wrote and narrated, won the Academy Award for best animated short film in 2018.
On Jan. 26, 2020, a helicopter crash resulted in the untimely death of Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other passengers.