Kobe Bryant began making waves in the basketball world even as a teenager in high school. So much so that he had already landed a lucrative contract with Adidas and was slated to star in the NBA. Not many 17-year-olds would accomplish this success at such a tender age, but as is widely documented, Mamba was just built differently.
He did, however, have one thing in common with his high school peers: a celebrity crush. Kobe was drafted into the NBA immediately following his graduation. In addition to that, he took singer and actress Brandy Norwood to his high school prom.
Nevertheless, this did not have to be the conclusion of their romance. Bryant made an appearance on Brandy’s show, Moesha, months after the prom.
Many assumed that something romantic was boiling between the two. However, Joe Bryant, in an interview with People, cleared the air around their relationship, saying “They’re just friends”. He added, “She comes to games, and she’s friends with his sisters, but it’s nothing romantic.”
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In an interview with Vibe in June 1996, Brandy mentioned a number of NBA players she would like to marry. Interestingly, Kobe Bryant was not included on the list. In fact, Shaquille O’Neal, one of Mamba’s best teammates ever, made the list. “I love Michael Jordan…definitely Magic Johnson and definitely Shaquille O’Neal,” Brandy said.
Lakers Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant celebrate after defeating the 76ers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Philadelphia Wednesday June 13, 2001. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Life took them on opposing paths as Kobe met his future wife in 1999, Vanessa Bryant, while Brandy gave birth to her daughter, Sy’rai Iman Smith in 2002.
Kobe Bryant found the love of his life, Vanessa Bryant in 1999
Kobe and Vanessa Bryant had been married for 19 years before the NBA legend tragically passed away. Their love story kicked off when the two met each other on the set of a music video in 1999.
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The two fell for one another after a beautiful first date at Disneyland. Six months into their rollercoaster relationship, the couple got engaged and finally tied knots in April 2001. Surprisingly, the joyous event of their wedding was not attended by Kobe’s parents, as they didn’t approve of the union.
They still kept building on their relationship. The couple welcomed four daughters during their marriage: Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri.
The couple encountered various roadblocks to developing a healthy relationship. They even agreed to divorce in 2011, but they subsequently dropped the plan and chose to stay together in 2013.
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Their decades-long marriage ended tragically on January 26, 2020, when Kobe and his second eldest daughter, Gianna, passed away in a helicopter crash. It’s fair to say that the two became eternal soulmates, as their commitment kept the couple together throughout the years.
The post Lakers Legend Kobe Bryant’s Celebrity Prom Date Preferred to Marry His Former Teammate Over the Black Mamba: “They’re Just Friends” appeared first on EssentiallySports.