Kobe Bryant lives and dies for every single game. He is a 19-year-old guard for the L.A. Lakers, and has adjusted to the challenges of the NBA.
Bryant attended Southeastern (PA) High School where he broke Wilt Chamberlain's 40-year-old scoring record of 2,359 points with 2,883.
After he graduated he made himself eligible for the NBA draft. Bryant earned a number 13 spot in the draft, and was USA Today's High School Player of the Year in '96, the NBA Slam Dunk Champion and Rookie All-Star MVP in '97.
During his rookie year with the Lakers he had limited playing time. He averaged only seven points per game, and many people thought it was too soon to consider him good. However, a player cannot be judged by numbers alone. Michael Jordan averaged only 13.5 points as a freshman at North Carolina, and David Robinson averaged 7.6 his freshman year at Navy. These two players also did not have to play against mature versions of themselves night after night, as Bryant does.
The more games Bryant played, the more improved he became. During the course of 15 games, from October 31 to December 17, Bryant doubled his scoring average to 16 points per game, which made him the highest scoring sixth man.
The moves that Bryant comes up with proves his talent. There are his 360E dunks, his no-look passes, his over-the-shoulder dishes and his behind-the-back assists.
Bryant is a 19-year-old living out his dreams. He has a three-year three and one-half million dollar contract with the Lakers and a multi-million dollar deals with Sprite and Adidas. Kobe Bryant is just one of the rising stars in the NBA. l
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.