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Nine really cool facts about Kobe Bryant

He is one of the most successful and recognisable stars to have ever played in the NBA, but how much do you really know about Kobe Bryant? The Los Angeles Lakers legend retired from basketball three years ago now, but his legacy will remain for eternity.

Winner of five NBA Championships and with 18 NBA All-Star awards to his name, Bryant is one of the most effective players the game has ever seen and his exploits have drawn comparisons with other greats such as Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

Here, we take a look through some interesting facts that you might not have known about Bryant. But before we do, you can bet on NBA matches on Betfair right now ahead of the next round of fixtures.

1. You'll be forgiven if you think the name "Kobe" is a tad unusual. Although it is becoming more popular in the modern era, Bryant actually took his first name from the famous Japanese steak that comes from Wagyu cattle. Apparently, his parents found it rather interesting!

2. Bryant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 23rd August 1978 and shares his birthday with none other than King Louis XVI of France! Although, I think it's fair to say that Bryant will be remembered in a much more positive light than the French monarch.

3. Bryant is the son of former NBA star Joe "jellybean" Bryant, who played for the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers and the Houston Rockets between 1975 and 1983. After his retirement in 1992, Joe Bryant has gone on to coach a number of teams and he currently manages Rizing Fukuoka of the bj league in Japan.

4. Bryant spent eight years of his childhood being raised in Italy, after his father up routed the family so he could carry on playing semi-pro basketball. Unsurprisingly, Bryant is fluent in Italian and it's thought that his love for the game stemmed from his time in Europe.

5. Not content with being one of the all-time greats the NBA has witnessed, Bryant was a brilliant student who could quite easily have gone on to take a different career path altogether. I think it's more than fair to say, we're glad he didn't!

6. For his high school prom, Bryant turned up arm-in-arm with R&B singer Brandy Norwood. We're not quite sure how he pulled it off exactly but what is for sure, he would have been the envy of all his class mates.

7. Still to this day, Bryant is the only ever guard to be drafted straight out of high school into the team. That team were the Charlotte Hornets, who traded Bryant to the LA Lakers in exchange for Vlade Divac in 1996. It's easy to say now, but the Hornets will probably be ruing that missed opportunity.

8. Bryant met his wife whilst on the set of a music video that he was recording. Vanessa Laine was a background dancer for the video in question and two years after, the pair got married and are still together to this day.

9. Once Bryant hung up his sneakers in 2016, he finished with a total of 33,643 points, 7,047 rebounds and 6,306 assists. Furthermore, he picked up over 60 accolades during his brilliant 20-year career with the Lakers.