The Basketball Hall of Fame will soon welcome LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant into its hallowed halls on Saturday. He will be inducted and subsequently immortalized along with other luminaries of the hardwood including Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and WNBA star Tamika Catchings.
Bryant has made a huge impact on the basketball court as evidenced by the multitude of records he has set or broken and the number of players who have idolized him growing up.
But the late Kobe Bryant impacted the lives of people off the court as well, and that arguably has had a wider reach than what he had done on the court. From individuals to organizations, the 18-time All-Star had shown that he lived out Spider-Man’s very famous moral code—with great power comes great responsibility—throughout his life.
A sampling of Kobe Bryant’s work off the court
Prior to Kobe Bryant’s retirement, he had already prepared for life after basketball. While his NBA career was his primary passion, he would spend many hours investing in the lives of others when he wasn’t dribbling a basketball on the court. It would carry over into his retirement as he continued and began efforts that would leave lasting legacies.
1) Supporting cancer research
Kobe Bryant understood how much he could do to aid in eradicating cancer. In 2012, the LA Lakers superstar took part in a special Stand Up To Cancer telecast to raise funds to battle the dreaded disease. The fundraising efforts raised more than $80 million that would go to cancer research.
Moreover, Kobe Bryant sought to impact patients who were already suffering from cancer by sending inspirational messages to them.
2) Making dreams come true
His dreams of playing in the NBA already realized, Kobe Bryant wanted to make the dreams of other children come true as well. For over 20 years, the five-time champion would make more than a hundred appearances for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. For those counting at home, that’s an average of five visits every year dating back to before he hung up his jersey permanently in 2016.
In doing so, Kobe Bryant granted the wishes of more than 200 children who were diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Some of them were invited to watch him play at LA Lakers games, giving them and their families a day filled with wonderful memories.
3) Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation
Kobe Bryant partnered with his wife Vanessa to launch the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation in 2006. According to its Facebook page, “KVBFF is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families in need.”
Originally called VIVO, the foundation was created to provide kids with cultural enrichment experiences and educational opportunities. Through this initiative, the Bryants touched the lives of countless minority college students and gave out scholarships for the Kobe Bryant Basketball Academy.
The foundation also took care of homeless children in the Los Angeles area. The Bryants helped support other foundations and non-profits such as My Friends Place and Step Up on Second that sought to help these underprivileged youth.
4) Supporting students from low-income families
By now you can tell that the youth were foremost in Kobe Bryant’s mind whenever he thought of reaching out to provide a helping hand. This was already evident even during the early part of his career.
Back in 2007, the former scoring champ was named a national ambassador for After-School All-Stars. The non-profit organization works with schools across the country to provide after-school activities to underprivileged students.
On their website is an entire page dedicated to Kobe Bryant and his impact on the students.
“Kobe was as much a superstar off the court as he was on it,” said Ben Paul, President and CEO of After-School All-Stars. “For over 12 years, he donated his time, wisdom and resources to the 90,000 All-Star students across the country. What I will remember most about Kobe’s involvement with us as a National Ambassador is how authentically he connected with students when he spent time with them,” reads the statement.
5) Inspiring the youth through TV, films and books
By now, practically everyone knows that Kobe Bryant won an Oscar in 2018 for Best Animated Short for “Dear Basketball,” his own story that was told through film. Because of this, he launched Granity Studios that was dedicated to inspiring the youth to create content for television, film and book writing/publishing.
“I built Granity Studios as a platform to create and share original stories to inspire today’s young athletes,” Bryant said at the time of its unveiling. “There’s surprisingly little content that combines the passion of sports and the traditions of original storytelling. Granity Studios will fill that void.”
The multimedia company released young adult books in its “Wizenard Series” which Kobe Bryant had planned to adapt through theater, animation and live-action content.
After its release, "The Wizenard Series: Training Camp," became No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list.
The creativity he showed on the court continued to manifest itself in his vision to improve the lives of the youth. Whether it was sick children, underprivileged kids or those who needed to be inspired by him, Kobe Bryant spent time and his own resources to better the lives of those around him.