Kobe Bryant: 7 Obscure Facts About the LA Lakers Star

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent ISeptember 8, 2011

Kobe Bryant: 7 Obscure Facts About the LA Lakers Star

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    Kobe Bryant's career has been prolific, extraordinary and a downright amazing journey that has led him to incredible success in the NBA.

    Despite all of the accolades and accomplishments, there are some things about Bryant that some are still in the dark about.

    His basketball career has been shaped by things both on and off the court. Let's take a look at seven fun facts about the All-Star who will undoubtedly go down as one of the most talented to ever grace the hardwood.

Fluent in Italian

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    Bryant spent some of his childhood in Italy, and he began learning Italian at age six in grade school.

    To this day, the shooting guard still speaks the language fluently, and he has used it to communicate with some of his teammates on the court.

    There was more of an interest in soccer than basketball after school in Italy among his peers, so Bryant began to pick up the language rather quickly in an effort to play with the others.

He Was Named After a Steak

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    Bryant's first name isn't one that is exactly commonplace, and it's a pretty funny story as to how he was first named.

    Prior to his berth, Bryant's parents Joe and Pamela saw Kobe beef on a restaurant menu, and they apparently loved the name so much that they found it fitting to use it for the couple's son.

    It's not often that someone is named after a piece of meat. I think it's safe to say that he's helped to grow the popularity of the cut immensely since he came into the NBA.

He Took Brandy to His High School Prom

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    Most of us took a girlfriend or a lady friend to our high school prom, but Bryant decided to walk down the red carpet in emphatic fashion.

    Bryant decided to take a popular music star. He showed up with R&B singer Brandy Norwood to his prom.

    I think it's safe to say that Bryant was a celebrity long before he was even drafted into the league.

First Guard to Be Drafted Straight out of High School

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    Bryant made a splash when he was drafted out of Lower Merion High School with the No. 13 overall selection in 1996, and it's because of more than just his age.

    The lifetime member of the Lakers was the first guard to be drafted straight out of high school, an impressive milestone and one that was clearly the right decision.

    The only thing that went wrong with Bryant's draft selection was from the Charlotte Hornets' perspective, as the team traded his rights for Vlade Divac on draft day.

How Kobe Met His Wife Vanessa

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    So how exactly did Bryant meet his wife Vanessa?

    The two actually met way back in 1999, when Vanessa was just a 17-year-old senior in high school.

    At the time, she was serving as a background dancer in a music video. But what was Bryant doing there?

    Besides checking up on The Eastsidaz shoot, Bryant was at the studio to record his own rap that never really launched off the ground.

    It's probably better off that his skills on the mic never became mainstream.

Why Kobe Wore No. 8

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    Bryant wore the number 33 for the majority of his high school career, so why did he switch to No. 8 when he arrived in the NBA?

    Well, there were actually two reasons.

    He wore the number while growing up and playing in Italy, and it is also a representation of the numbers he wore at the Adidas ABCD camp: one, four and three.

    A decision to change his number and create more jersey sales just when his popularity was rising?

    That's what I call good timing.

His Middle Name: Bean

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    Last, but certainly not least, Bryant's middle name isn't one that's printed on a lot of birth certificates.

    His parents chose the middle name Bean for Bryant, which more than likely came as a result of his father's nickname of "Jellybean" that he earned during his playing days.

    It's a pretty unique nomenclature for a player that's anything but ordinary, so I'd say that it's pretty appropriate.