On Sunday, Jan. 26, the world lost one of the great sports icons of the 21st century. Kobe Bryant was a husband, father, and NBA star, who will likely be remembered as one of the most well-respected players to ever grace the court. But outside of the game he changed with his tenacity and talent, the Philadelphia native known affectionately as “The Black Mamba,” had a heart for the youth and philanthropy. Here are 10 times he showed his giving spirit to the world.
Bryant With Wife Vanessa Found The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation
One of Kobe Bryant’s lasting accomplishments is the philanthropic foundation he founded with his wife Vanessa. An extension of his previously founded VIVO foundation, the Bryants’ announced in 2011 that they would start a charitable organization that would help homeless youth in Los Angeles “kick butt.” The foundation also plays host to Mamba FC, a youth soccer club in Orange County that, according to the KVBFF website, trains young athletes to become leaders and promotes health and fitness.
Kobe Bryant Lends Star Power and Skills to After-School All-Stars
In 2007, Bryant signed on as a national ambassador for After-School All-Stars, an organization that promotes academic success for the country’s youth. Throughout his partnership, the late NBA star frequently lent his voice and talents to help encourage young people to achieve their goals and become leaders. He also raised money for the organization and was a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles chapter which serves 14,000 students in 38 schools, 99 percent of whom are young people of color, according to the organization’s website.
The Five-Time NBA Champion Becomes Founding Donor for the NMAAHC
Through the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, Bryant became a milestone donor, contributing $1 million or more, for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. On the day of its opening, the NBA legend tweeted, “Go. See. This. Museum. There is no greater testament to this country than the stories in this building. Honored to be a part of it @NMAAHC.”
Kobe Bryant Raises Money and Awareness For War in Darfur
In 2008, Bryant became a spokesperson for Aid Still Required and created a PSA to help bring awareness to the ongoing war in a region where men, women, and children continue to be murdered and mutilated. That year the NBA MVP made an emotional appeal, saying, “If we can unite people who are willing to take a stand, miracles can happen… Together we have the power to save the world.”
The NBA All-Star Becomes Celebrity Supporter of Cathy’s Kids
When fellow Lakers teammate Lamar Odom started a foundation for underprivileged inner-city youth in New York and Los Angeles, Bryant signed on with his support. The organization’s goals were to provide educational tools, offer mentoring and tutoring services, create recreational opportunities, and generate funds for research.
The Lakers Legend Donates Books to LeBron James’ I Promise School
Last June, the former LA Laker generously donated his Wizenard book series to LeBron James’s I Promise School. The fantasy books for young adults, which focuses on an inner-city basketball team, was created by Bryant shortly after he retired from the league. In December the literacy advocate called on fans to join him in “helping children dream big” by donating books to Reading Is Fundamental. The high school draftee was a frequent contributor to the cause.
The NBA Star Turned Youth Coach Donates Money to High School Basketball Team
Days before the 2019 Christmas holiday, Bryant and his wife Vanessa sent a $5,000 check to help support a Sacramento-area sports team. According to the team’s coach, the girls basketball program in Roseville, California, was in desperate need of financial assistance. That’s when a student, who previously met the retired NBA star earlier that year, asked him for a donation to help the young women out. The contribution, in the words of the 14-year-old student-athlete, “gave the Roseville girls basketball more opportunities to get better and to get prepared for our season.”
Kobe Bryant Acts As Beacon of Hope Through Make-A-Wish Foundation
For more than 20 years, Bryant was an advocate for children battling life-threatening illnesses. According to the Make-A-Wish foundation, over the span of his career, the father of four personally met with over 100 children through the 501 nonprofit organization that creates life-changing wishes for youth with a critical sickness. Prior to retiring, Bryant would often invite children to games to reconnect, inspire, and provide an escape.
The Former LA Laker Stands Up to Cancer
Through a number of organizations and avenues, Bryant raised money for cancer research and medical expenses. In 2012, he joined with A-list celebrities for the annual Stand Up To Cancer telecast event which raised more than $81 Million for collaborative cancer research. That year he posted to Facebook, “We have to Stand Up To Cancer! Kids shouldn’t have to suffer.”
Bryant Established the Kobe Bryant China Fund
During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China took a liking to Kobe Bryant. As the Wall Street Journal reported at the time, he was named a cultural ambassador to the country by the Asia Society and was looked at as a charitable diplomat. In 2009, Bryant donated $5 million yuan to launch the Kobe Bryant China Fund, which was established as a way to raise money for sports and cultural programs in the Republic. Together with the Kobe Bryant Family Foundation, he also provided opportunities to American youth to learn the Mandarin language, as well as culturally enrich themselves by learning about the traditions of the Chinese people.Share :