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Kobe Bryant
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Kobe Bryant

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Kobe Bean Bryant (born August 23, 1978) is an NBA basketball player. Bryant is the son of NBA player Joe "Jellybean" Bryant and his wife Pamela Cox, sister of NBA player John "Chubby" Cox.

Bryant entered the NBA at the age of eighteen after a spectacular high school career in the Philadelphia Main Line suburb of Lower Merion, and was originally selected by the Charlotte Hornets but never played for the team. Within weeks of being drafted, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Though young and somewhat introverted, Bryant's immense talent made an immediate impression with his teammates on the practice court. He has occasionally clashed with center Shaquille O'Neal, who was until recently his teammate on the Lakers.

Bryant's career trajectory as an NBA player out of high school has been exceptional. By the age of 24, Bryant had won many individual awards, and had been named to the All-NBA team multiple times. He is regarded as one of the best players in the NBA. Bryant helped the Los Angeles Lakers to three NBA championships.

Bryant's youth, style, good looks and accomplishments on the basketball court have made him one of the most popular and most marketable players in the NBA. He speaks fluent Italian and Spanish; he spent much of his childhood in Italy when his father played professional basketball there.

He married Vanessa Cornejo Ubrieta Laine on April 18, 2001 in Dana Point, California. Kobe's father Joe Bryant broke relations with his son because he objected to his son's marriage. They have since reconciled.

The couple's daughter Natalia was born on January 19, 2003.

Kobe Bryant has also won 3 NBA titles with the Lakers, in 2000, 2001, and 2002. The Lakers also came up short in the 2004 Finals against the Detroit Pistons, losing four games to one. Following the loss to the Pistons, Bryant opted out of his contract, and tested the free agent market. On July 15, 2004, he signed a new seven-year deal with the Lakers worth over $136 million.

Rape accusation

Note: Due to concerns over privacy the name of the alleged victim is not being included in this article at this time.

In July 2003, a 19-year old Colorado woman levelled an accusation of rape at the popular basketball player. An employee of a Edwards, Colorado hotel, the woman alleged that Bryant sexually assaulted her in his hotel room. Bryant was in Colorado to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery in nearby Vail. Bryant was officially charged on July 17, 2003, and arrested, but was soon released on bail; he admitted to having sex with the woman, but maintained that the intercourse was consensual.

Bryant's lawyers aggressively pursued the case, going as far as to attempt to obtain the woman's medical records, to admit evidence on her sexual history, and to force her to testify at the trial when the prosecution claimed that previously recorded statements and other evidence were sufficient. The prosecution countered with accusations that the defence had made a "conscious misrepresentation of the evidence in order to smear the victim publicly." Bryant attorney Pamela Mackey stated the alleged victim's name in open court six times, after being ordered by judge Frederick Gannett not to do so.

The young woman was also the recipient of several death threats from Bryant supporters. Patrick Graber, a Swiss bodybuilder, solicited Bryant offering to commit murder for hire; he was apprehended on 18 September 2003. On 20 August 2003, Iowa resident John William Roche was indicted for leaving an intimidating message on the accuser's answering machine.

Although traditionally, mainstream news media outlets have refused to divulge the names of alleged rape victims, because of the high profile of the Bryant case, her name quickly became known and widely circulated on the Internet. Address details and photographs, a number of which were inaccurate or belonged to women other than the actual accuser, were also widely distributed online. Although most news outlets refused to divulge her identity, the supermarket tabloid The Globe printed the woman's name and picture on its front cover. On 16 September 2003, the office of the Colorado's Office of the State Court Administrator accidentally posted a document on their website which divulged her full name and address; the document was retracted within the hour and placed online again in a heavily edited form. [1].

The release of the woman's name, which rape victim advocacy groups have claimed is an intimidation tactic on the part of the Bryant defense, has generated significant controversy within the news media. However, skeptics have suggested that her accusations were designed simply as a publicity stunt or an attempt to earn a substantial financial settlement, and complained that the traditional (albeit informal) protection afforded rape victims is unfair because it denies the defendant the right to publicly confront his accuser.

On 25 June 2004, the date for Bryant's trial was set. The trial will begin on 27 August in Eagle, Colorado, and is expected to last three to four weeks.

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