On January 26, 2020, basketball star Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other passengers. Here are 5 things you might not know about Kobe Bryant on the one year anniversary of his tragic death.
A "Tasteful" Decision Led To His Unusual Name Parents choose baby names for a variety of reasons, but Bryant's parents made a truly unique choice. Reportedly, it was their fascination with Kobe steak, a type of Japanese beef highly prized for its unique marbling and flavor, that led them to name their son Kobe. Bryant himself reported that his middle name was also representative of his parents' love of food, being "Bean," though his birth certificate does not confirm that officially.
His Prom Date Was Already Famous
While everyone dreams of taking someone really spectacular to their prom, Bryant was able to actually pull it off. His prom date was none other than the Grammy-Award winning singer/songwriter Brandy, who was already a celebrity at that point. The two remained friends until his death in 2020.
He Made History Straight Out Of High School
Relatively few young men have been drafted into the NBA straight from high school, but even among that elite group, Kobe stands out as the first guard to ever be drafted from high school rather than from a collegiate team to the NBA.
He Was Fluent In Italian
Kobe's father was also a basketball player and, after leaving the NBA, he played in the Italian basketball league. So, between the ages of 6 and 13, Kobe lived in Italy, where he became fluent in Italian and began to play the sport that later made him famous. According to information from the NBA, he spoke four languages, which was instrumental in the international growth of the NBA during his 20-year career with that organization.
He Is The Only NBA Player To Have Two Jersey Numbers Retired By The Same Team Kobe has another unique, yet impressive accolade. He is the only player in the league to ever have two jersey numbers retired for the same team. In his career with the Lakers, Kobe wore both #8 and #24. He won three NBA championships wearing #8, and two others wearing #24. Wearing the #8 jersey, he scored an amazing 16,777 points. When sporting the jersey number #24, he scored another 16,866 points. It's little wonder that the Lakers chose to honor his contributions to the team by retiring both jerseys in December of 2017.