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11 Things You Might Not Have Known About Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant and Kobe beef have more in common than you’d think.

1. Kobe seriously pursued a rap career, which culminated with a single appropriately titled “K.O.B.E.”

And yes, that’s Tyra Banks singing the hook.

2. He speaks fluent Italian.

As well as conversational French and Serbian.

3. It’s well known that he was the first guard in NBA history to be drafted straight out of high school, but he was first drafted to the Hornets, not the Lakers.

Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images

His agent simply said Kobe playing for Charlotte would be “an impossibility,” and Kobe’s been an L.A. man ever since.

4. Kobe took R&B singer Brandy to his high school prom.

So he’s a baller on and off the court.

5. Yes, Kobe’s parents named him after Japanese beef.

Allegedly, his mother saw it on the menu and thought it had a nice ring to it.

6. And his middle name is Bean.

In honor of his father, Joe Bryant, who is nicknamed Jellybean.

7. Kobe wears a brand new pair of kicks at every game.

Since the shoe is designed for the shape of his foot, he doesn’t need to wait until they “break in.” The once-used pairs are donated or sold for charity.

8. Despite wearing jersey numbers 24 and 33 in high school, Kobe chose 8 when he entered the pros for a number of personal reasons.

First, it was his number while living in Italy. Second, it is the sum of all the numbers he wore while in Adidas ABCD Camp. And third, 24 was taken and 33 was retired by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

9. When 24 became available, he famously switched jerseys.

Besides Jordan, this was one of the highest-profile cases of an NBA pro switching jersey numbers for no apparent reason.

10. He sometimes passes the ball to himself and believes it should count as an assist as well as a basket.

It doesn’t not make sense…

11. He considers himself a normal guy, just like you and me! (lol).

With the small exception that he is the youngest player to score 30,000 points, youngest winner of the slam dunk contest, youngest starting All-Star, five-time NBA champion, four-time MVP, seasoned Olympian, etc. etc. etc.

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