Kobe Bean Bryant (born August 23, 1978(1978-08-23) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American All-Star shooting guard in the National Basketball Association (NBA) who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant is the only son of former Philadelphia 76ers player and former Los Angeles Sparks head coach Joe "Jellybean" Bryant. His parents named him after the famous beef of Kobe, Japan, which they saw on a restaurant menu. Kobe Bryant married Vannesa Laine in 2001 and has two children.
Bryant rose to national prominence in 1996 when he became the first guard in league history to be drafted out of high school. Bryant and then-teammate Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002. Since O'Neal's departure following the 2003-04 season, Bryant has become the cornerstone of the Lakers franchise, and was the NBA's leading scorer during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. He is also the youngest player to reach the milestone of 20,000 points in his NBA career.
In 2003, Bryant made headlines when he was accused of sexual assault. The charges were dropped after Bryant's accuser declined to testify, and the two sides ultimately settled the matter outside of criminal court.