KOBE BRYANT is playing his last game in the NBA tonight. And normally that would be the sports headline of the night.
But it’s happening the same night the Golden State Warriors could make NBA history by winning their 73rd game of the regular season . . . beating the amazing 72-10 season of the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls.
ESPN even bumped Kobe’s last game to ESPN2. So we’re giving Kobe some love with a list of 10 interesting facts.
1. His full name is Kobe Bean Bryant. He was named after Japanese Kobe beef . . . his parents saw it on a menu. And Bean was a shortened form of his father’s nickname ‘Jellybean.’
2. He’s 37, and has played 20 seasons . . . all of them with the Lakers. No one else has played that many with the same team. He’s also won five championships, and was named MVP of the finals twice.
3. He’s an 18-time all-star, including his last 16 seasons, which is incredible . . . even if he didn’t actually deserve the last few. He was named the All-Star MVP four times, which is a record . . . although he’s tied with old-schooler Bob Pettit.
4. He’s the only player in NBA history with 30,000 points, 6,000 assists, and 6,000 rebounds.
5. He’s tied for the most three-pointers made in a game. He hit 12 of them in one game back in 2003. He shares the record with Donyell Marshall and Stephen Curry.
6. He holds the record for most field goals MISSED in a game with 30. So, was it just a bad day? Not really. He still scored 41 points, along with nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. The Lakers lost in overtime to the Celtics though.
7. He’s the youngest player to start an NBA game, at 18 years and 158 days.
8. He’s the third-highest scorer in NBA history, with over 33,500 points. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone are #1 and #2. Michael Jordan is fourth. By the way, his first words to Jordan back in the ’90s were, quote, “You know I can kick your [butt] one-on-one.”
9. Kobe tried to launch a side-gig as a rapper in 1998, like a lot of players. His debut album was going to be called “Visions”, but it was never released. The first single was called “K.O.B.E.”, featured Tyra Banks, and was a flop.
10. He was the first guard to be drafted directly out of high school. He was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets as the 13th pick in 1996. But in a pre-arranged deal, they traded him to the Lakers for center Vlade Divac.