Incredible Kobe Bryant Throwback Photos that Highlight the Legendary Laker's 20-Year Career
From being the first round draft pick straight out of high school, to retiring both of his Los Angeles Lakers jerseys at the Staples Center, relive the greatest moments from the late basketball player's incomparable career
Bryant shakes hands with then-NBA Commissioner David Stern (who died on Jan. 1, 2020) after being selected in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft on June 26, 1996, at Madison Square Garden in N.Y.C.
After earning his No. 8 Lakers number, Bryant is seen grinning while posing with a basketball outside the Forum in Inglewood, California, in 1997.
Bryant and longtime teammate Shaquille O'Neal pose for a shot during the national anthem before a game back in the '90s.
The smiling Laker accepts his trophy for winning the 1997 Nestle Crunch Slam Dunk Contest in Cleveland.
The lifelong Laker also snagged a photo with another legendary athlete and fan, Muhammad Ali.
The father of four went head-to-head against the NBA's best players, including Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Another basketball foe (on the court) included Michael Jordan.
Bryant was a part of the 1998 Western Conference All-Star team, along with Jason Kidd, Mitch Richmond, David Robinson, Kevin Garnett, Vin Baker, Eddie Jones, Nick Van Exel, Gary Payton, Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone and Tim Duncan.
The New York Knicks' Patrick Ewing was no match for Bryant in this photo taken back in 2000 at Madison Square Garden in N.Y.C.
Bryant and O'Neal pose with another Lakers legend, Magic Johnson, after they won the 2000 NBA Championship against the Indiana Pacers at the Staples Center in L.A.
No. 8 goes for the dunk during 2002's game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Sacramento Kings.
The five-time NBA champion is seen celebrating his 2002 NBA finals win against the New Jersey Nets.
The historic player proudly poses with his family after both of his No. 8 and No. 24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired at the Staples Center in L.A. on Dec. 18, 2017.
After welcoming his fourth child with his wife, daughter Capri, in the summer of 2019, Bryant tragically lost his life on Jan. 26, 2020, in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, PEOPLE confirmed. He was 41.