Bryant had started to visibly slow due to age and injuries. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY
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Kobe Bryant became one of the greatest legends in the history of the NBA over two decades with the Los Angeles Lakers, fighting through pain and controversy to ensure his place among the sport's icons. Bryant ranks third on the NBA all-time scoring list, trailing only leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone, and won NBA crowns with the Lakers in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010 .The elder Bryant played from 1984 to 1991 in Italy, giving young Kobe a global worldview as he grew up dreaming of following his dad into the NBA.Bryant was selected 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1996 NBA Draft but they were picking for the Lakers in a deal made before the draft, center Vlade Divac going to Charlotte in exchange for Bryant.At 18, Bryant became at the time the youngest player or starter in an NBA game and the youngest winner of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Bryant won the NBA scoring crown with 35.4 points a game average.
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