This is 40: Get Ready to Celebrate Kobe Bryant's Birthday

Kobe Bean Bryant is one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game. While his skill and on court abilities are undeniable, his style of play and particular tendencies have also turned him into a polarizing figure of sorts. There are numerous Kobe Bryant superfans who won’t accept any player’s greatness over Bryant’s. So intense is the love and support for their beloved NBA superstar that some of them (allegedly) went and defaced many freshly painted LeBron James murals across Los Angeles. Lakers team owner Jeanie Bus went on to promptly claim that anyone who defaces a LeBron James mural can not claim to be a Lakers fan.

On the other side of such love, support and devotion, are basketball fans who believe that Kobe Bryant was a scoring-oriented selfish player who didn’t really help make his teammates better. His proclivity towards taking a large amount of shots in the game has caused the internet to be flooded with memes mocking that particular aspect of his game. It’s safe to say that while Kobe Bryant is inarguably great and has a large number of admiring fans, he also seems to have a large number of ‘haters’.

To celebrate the 40th birthday of this amazing basketball player, NBA TV is going to run a ‘Kobe Marathon’ on its airwaves on the 23rd of August. Whether you love Kobe Bryant or love to hate him, you should definitely catch some (if not all) of these features. Here’s the schedule, via (Pacific time):
3 a.m. — Rookie Kobe soars to the Slam Dunk Contest title in Cleveland. (Also airs at 9:30 a.m.)
3:30 a.m. — Nineteen-year-old Kobe scores 33 points in a duel with Michael Jordan (36 points).
5:30 a.m. — Bryant scores 18 points in his very first All-Star Game.
7:30 a.m. — Kobe pours in 28 points, including several clutch overtime baskets, in Game 4 off the 2000 NBA Finals.
10 a.m. — Bryant erupts for 48 points and 16 rebounds to eliminate Sacramento in the 2001 Western Conference Semifinals.
12 p.m. — Kobe scores 81 points in a single game — the second-most in NBA history.
2 p.m. — Kobe puts up 32 points in an overtime win over Orlando in Game 4 of the 2009 NBA Finals.
4 p.m. — Bryant’s interview with Ahmad Rashad. (Also airs at 9 p.m.)
5 p.m. — Kobe sits down with Shaquille O’Neal to discuss their time as teammates. (Also airs at 10 p.m.)
6 p.m. — Bryant scores 60 points in the final game of his career.
In case you don’t have access to NBA TV/don’t have time to watch anything/prefer reading stuff, this post has got you covered, here are some facts about Kobe Bryant that you might find interesting:

Kobe Bean Bryant was born onAugust 23, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America to professional basketball player Joe Bryant, and Pam Bryant. His parents named him after a specific type of beef steak. The meat for that beef comes from a particular species of cattle, called Wagyu. They are usually raised in the ‘Kobe’ region of Japan.
When his father moved to Italy to play in the Italian Professional League, Kobe Bryant moved with him and stayed in Italy for eight years, becoming a fluent Italian speaker in the process.
When he entered the league 1996, out of Lower Merion High School, at 18 years, 2 months and 11 days, Bryant became the youngest player to ever play in the NBA at that time.
He played his entire NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Finishing with five NBA championships and the third spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He is also a two time Olympic Gold Medalist. He married Vanessa Laine on April 18th, 2001 and has three daughters with her, Natalia (born in 2003), Gianna (born in 2006) and Bianka (born in 2016).
The following is a snapshot of Kobe Bryant’s career in chronological order:

1996 –
Led the Lower Merion Aces to a 31-3 season and the Class-AAAA state championahip. In the process, he became the all time leading scorer in the history of Southern Pennsylvania basketball.
1996 – He was named the National High School Player of the Year by USA Today. He also won the Naismith Player of the Year award.
June 26, 1996 – Kobe Bean Bryant was selected 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the highly revered 1996 NBA draft class.
July 11, 1996 – He had made it public that he had no intention of playing for the Charlotte Hornets so the Hornets traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers for big man Vlade Divac. Bryant teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal to form one of the most dynamic duos in NBA history.
February 1997 – He won the Slam Dunk Contest during the All-Star weekend. He didn’t make the All Star team, but he was selected to the All Rookie Second Team at the end of the season.
1998 – He was selected for his first All-Star game, becoming the youngest ever starter in the process.
2000-2002 – His 1-2 punch with dominant center Shaquille O’Neal proved to be too much for the rest of the NBA to handle as the Los Angeles Lakers completed a three-peat of NBA championahips.
2002 – He won his first ever All-Star Game MVP award. Bryant went on to win it 3 more times in 2007, 2009 and 2011 respectively.
July 18, 2003 – He was charged for sexually assaulting a 19 year old hotel worker. According to District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, Bryant was accused of “sexual penetration or intrusion and (that) he caused submission of the victim through actual physical force”.
January 19, 2004 – Possibly influenced by the sexual assault charges, McDonald’s decided to not renew its contract with Bryant.
August 10, 2004 – The alleged victim of the sexual assault filed a lawsuit at a federal court in Denver under the name “Jane Doe”. She claimed that she was raped by Bryant in his hotel room of a Vail-area resort in 2003. The damages claimed by the plaintiff weren’t specified.
September 1, 2004 – Kobe Bryant received a respite as the criminal sexual assault case was dropped.
January 22, 2006 – He had quite possibly the most legendary game of his storied NBA career as he went on to score 81 points in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 122 – 104 win over the Toronto Raptors. Only Wilt Chamberlainn has scored more points in a single game (100 points).
May 2008 – He won his first and only NBA regular season MVP award.
August 24, 2008 – As a member of the superstar filled NBA ‘Redeem Team’, Kobe Bryant won a Gold Medal for the USA Men’s Basketball Team during the Beijing Olympics.
2009-2010 –  After losing to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers came back strong to win back-to back NBA championships. Kobe Bryant was named the Finals MVP on both occasions.
February 1, 2010 – He eclipsed Jerry West’s career points total of 25,192 points to become the highest scorer in Los Angeles Lakers history.
April 13, 2011 – He passed a homophobic remark on a referee in the middle of a game. The NBA slapped a $100,000 fine on him.
December 16, 2011 – His wife Vanessa Bryant filed for a divorce.
August 12, 2012 – He won his second Gold Medal as a member of the USA Men’s Basketball team during the 2012 London Olympics.
January 11, 2013 – He reconciled with his wife and shared the happy news with his fans via Facebook.
April 12, 2013 – He suffered a devastating injury in a game against the Golden State Warriors as he tore his left Achilles tendon. He was slated to miss 6-9 months after surgery to repair his torn tendon.
May 8, 2013 – He filed a lawsuit against his mother to prevent her from selling memorabilia from the initial phase of his basketball career. He reached a settlement in June.
December 17, 2013 – After returning from his Achilles Tendon injury, he broke a bone in his left knee during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
March 12, 2014 – The Los Angeles Lakers decided to shut down Bryant for the rest of the season as the team’s doctors determined that his fractured knee had not healed.
October 28, 2014 – The Los Angeles Lakers fans cheered and celebrated as Kobe Bryant returned from his injury for the season opener.
December 14, 2014 – He eclipsed his idol Michael Jordan’s points total of 32,292 to become the third highest scorer in NBA history.
January 28, 2015 – He had to undergo surgery to repair his torn rotator cuff and missed 9 months of action.
October 4, 2015 – Returned to the court during a preseason game against the Utah Jazz.
November 29, 2015 – He announced that he was going to retire at the end of the 2015-2016 season through a post on The Players’ Tribune website.
April 13, 2016 – Kobe Bryant had a dream farewell as he scored 60 points in his final NBA game, leading the Lakers to a 101-96 win over the Utah Jazz.
December 18, 2017 – He received a special jersey retirment ceremony during halftime as both of his numbers, 8 and 24, were retired.
March 4, 2018 – To add to his off court accomplishments list, Kobe Bryant’s film, “Dear Basketball” went on to win the Academy Award in the ‘best short animated film’ category.

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