obe Bean Bryant (born August 23, 1978) is an American professional basketball player who plays shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). 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 Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002. A heated feud between the duo and a loss in the 2004 NBA Finals led to O'Neal's departure following the 2003–04 season. In 2003, Bryant was accused of sexual assault after having sex with a hotel employee in Edwards, Colorado. In September 2004, prosecutors dropped the case after his accuser refused to testify,and Bryant had to rebuild his image while becoming the cornerstone of the Lakers. 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 1962.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.