Kobe Bean Bryant (born August 23, 1978(1978-08-23)) is an American professional basketball player who plays shooting guard in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School, where he was recognized as the top high school basketball player in the country. He decided to declare his eligibility for the NBA Draft upon graduation, and was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. As a rookie, Bryant earned himself a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan favorite by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest.
Bryant and then-teammate Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002. After O'Neal's departure following the 2003–04 season, Bryant became the cornerstone of the Lakers franchise. He led the NBA in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons, setting numerous scoring records in the process. In 2006, Bryant scored a career high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second most points scored in a single game in NBA history, second only to Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point performance. In the 2007–08 season, he was awarded the regular season's Most Valuable Player Award (MVP). After losing in the 2008 NBA Finals, Bryant led the Lakers to two consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, and was named NBA Finals MVP on both occasions.
In 2010, Bryant became the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. Since his second year in the league, Bryant has started in every NBA All-Star Game that has been hosted, winning the All-Star MVP award in 2002, 2007, and 2009. He is a twelve-time member of the All-NBA team and ten-time All-Defensive team, and is the youngest player ever to receive defensive honors. In 2008, he won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics as a member of the USA national team. Bryant was named NBA player of the decade by TNT and Sporting News.
In 2003, Bryant was accused of sexual assault at a hotel in Edwards, Colorado, by a hotel employee. Bryant admitted an adulterous sexual encounter with the accuser, but denied the sexual assault allegation. In September 2004, prosecutors dropped the case after his accuser informed them that she was unwilling to testify.
Source : WIkipedia.com