AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, marks the 44th birthday of Kobe Bean Bryant who died on Jan. 26, 2020, in a helicopter crash. Bryant often referred to as “Black Mamba” is and was a big inspiration to those who supported him old and young. After retiring from the NBA in 2016 Bryant pursued sports-related ventures, notably the Mamba Sports Academy facilities for current and aspiring athletes.

Kobe Bryant’s favorite quote:

“Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile, and just keep on rolling.”

4 Facts you might not know about Kobe Bryant:

1. Kobe’s name origin

Kobe Bryant seems like a well-thought-out name as cool as it sounds but it sort of happened naturally. Kobe Beef was a famous delicacy in Japan far before Bryant, but adding “Bean Bryant” put it on the global map. “Kobe Bryant was named after Kobe beef after his father had a taste of it and loved it,” said Tetsunori Tanimoto, director of the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association.

2. Kobe won an Oscar

Kobe Bryant was such an iconic figure he not only won the highest award in his field of work and he also won in the film industry. Kobe won best animated short film, along with Glen Keane, who animated and directed the short called “Dear Basketball.” Bryant’s short film was a message to remind people that dreams are only possible with passion and perseverance.

3. Kobe’s first shoe was not Nike

Bryant not yet drafted was approached by Adidas for an endorsement deal for 6 years worth about $48 million dollars reportedly. As a 17-year-old kid, I don’t think anybody would have turned this deal down. After a mediocre 1996 rookie season in his first shoe, Kobe gained fame in his second season in the Kobe two. He grew unimpressed with the Adidas designs and found himself in Nikes in the 2003 season.

4. Kobe released a hip-hop single

Bryant, only three years into his NBA career signed a music recording deal with Sony Records in 1999 to release his own studio album. Kobe was fresh on the hip-hop scene and looking to make his mark in January of 2000 when he released a single called, “K.O.B.E,” with Sony Entertainment. The K.O.B.E featured in Tyra Banks in the music video

Iconic lyrics from the song:

“Uh, what I live for? Basketball, beats and broads/ From Italy to the U.S., yes, it’s raw”

4 moments to remember Kobe:

1. 60-point retirement game

Bryant capped off a loyal 20-season career with the Lakersputting them on his back for one last ride. Kobe took the court for the last time on April 13, 2016, defeating the Utah Jazz in a Kobe-like fashion scoring 60 points. Bryant scored the last 15 of 17 points to close out his last game and hit a buzzer-beater with 31 seconds left to solidify the win.

2. Kobe and Shaq’s alley-oop

The Lakers faced Scottie Pippen and The Portland Trailblazers in the Western Conference finals on their way to winning the first ring of the three-peat. Lakers completed a comeback after being down 15 in the fourth quarter of game seven the iconic duo solidified themselves with a memorable ally-oop Kobe assisted Shaq for the throwdown. Shaq and Kobe would go on to win three titles together, they made up one of the most dominant duos in NBA history.

3. Drafted: 1996

Bryant was just named National High School Player of the Year and the Naismith Player of the Year, he is initially selected by the Charlotte Hornets as the 13th pick in the NBA’s first round. Bryant is also the first guard to be drafted from high school straight into the NBA. On July 11, 1996, a trade would shake the NBA Bryant is traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac.

4. Career game-high: 81 pts.

Kobe had 26 points by halftime, which is a good tally for most players, he finished the game with the second-highest total in NBA history. Bryant ended the game with two assists, shooting 28-of-46 from the field, including 7-of-13 from 3-point range, and 18-of-20 from the foul line in a total of 42 mins. The Los Angeles Lakers won in a 122-104 come from behind victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.