At the start of Kobe’s career, he made the decision of a lifetime going into the NBA straight out of Lower Merion High School in 1996. After 20 years of playing in the NBA, Kobe reflected on the best decision that he has ever made was “Coming straight to the NBA and skipping college.” He didn’t have the best start to his career, as in his rookie season he averaged about 15.5 minutes per game off the bench. Bryant later elaborated on his response but cautioned that his route to the NBA wouldn’t suit every high-profile prospect: “You have high school players that go to college, stay for four years and come out and they're not ready; you got certain high school players that skip college and they're ready. So I think it depends on the mentors that you have, it depends on the internal motivation or spirit of the kid himself. Ultimately, it depends on the teachers that you have and the mentors that you have. You can go to college for four years and get horrible mentorship and be worse off than a kid who came to the league at 17.”
Kobe hadn’t made his first start until January 28 of his inaugural season. One time in his early career, he didn’t perform as well in a game. After the game, he did not go home. Instead, he went to the gym and shot baskets for the rest of the night. Through everything, Kobe was one of the hardest workers, always arriving at the gym a few hours before the game to get shots up. Rumours have said that Kobe makes about 800 shots before every game at the gym as a pregame workout. Kobe’s work ethic is extremely outstanding, as he wakes up at 3 am to get to the gym to do warmups and to get better at basketball.
Kobe has achieved many great things in his NBA career. He is a 5 time NBA champion, has 18 All-Star selections, 4 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards, 12 All Defensive Team awards, 4 All-Star Game MVPs, 1 Regular Season MVP, 2 Finals MVPs, and has acquired over 33,000 points and is in the top 5 of all time scoring leaders. Kobe won the 1997 Dunk Contest in his rookie season. In Bryant’s last ever NBA game, he scored 60 points. Kobe Bryant is also an All-Time Scoring Leader for the Lakers. Bryant has won 2 Olympic gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. Kobe holds the record of scoring the second highest amount of points in a single NBA game, behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points with 81 points. People say that Kobe’s 81 point game was much more impressive than Wilt’s 100 point game. The Lakers have retired both of Kobe’s jersey numbers 8 and 24. Kobe was an amazing player and will always be remembered as the Black Mamba.