We tip our BBQ Kobe steaks to you - Black Mamba, you’re a legend.
Kobe Bryant’s highlight reel is extensive; he’s a legend and best known for being the first superstar drafted right out of high school. He’s spent his entire 20-year professional basketball career wearing purple and gold with one team and fans go wild for his trademark fadeaway jumper. Kobe has scored 81 points in one game and won 5 championships with the LA Lakers. So grab a thick-cut Kobe steak, fire it up on the Traeger, then sit back and check out what we admire about Black Mamba, as he’s been affectionately nicknamed.
Kobe Bean Bryant was born in Philadelphia, PA, he was named after a Japanese steak and his middle name comes from his Father’s nickname, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant. His name surely added inspiration for his originality. The Bryant family lived in Italy where Kobe became fluent in Italian as his dad played basketball. They were back in the states by the time he was in high school where his breakout basketball talent was widely noticed. His favorite player was European player Mike D’Antoni who went on to coach the Phoenix Suns. The highlight of high school was surely when Kobe took Brandy, the R&B singer to prom.
Kobe’s Jump Start:
In 1996, right out of high school, a series of strategic moves by the Charlotte Hornets and the Lakers landed Kobe the 13th overall draft pick. The Hornets got Kobe, the Lakers traded Vlade Divac to get him to LA, then signed free agent, Shaquille O’Neal, thus staying within the salary cap they secured 2 superstars. Though Kobe skipped college and went straight to the NBA, his basketball career began because he wanted to chase his dream, since then he’s inspired others to do the same.
Kobe tried his hand at a rap career and recorded a rap in 1998; the best thing to come of this pseudo-career was that he met his wife while recording.
The Shaq Feud:
Kobe and Shaq had many teammate feuds over the 8 years that they played together, most were highly publicized and Shaq went so far as to rap about Kobe, (we’d be flattered if either Shaq or Kobe rapped about Traeger). After the 2009 All-Star Game, these super competitors called a truce and ended their competitiveness over their team roles. Just imagine what they could have done had they sat down over delicious wood-fired BBQ ribs and come to terms earlier—instead of 3 championships together, there could have been even more than Kobe’s 5.
Bump, jump, fade—He could back you down with just one or 2 dribbles, jump, then fade-away, no one in the NBA can guard his signature shot. Kobe is an 18-time All-Star, 2-time Finals MVP, 11-time first-team All-NBA player, and for 15 years he’s been one of the best 15 players in the NBA league. As a 2-time gold medalist in the Summer Olympics, he’s been named one of the 6 best guards and the youngest player historically to attain 30,000 career points—Needless to say, his scoring performances and stat list is overwhelmingly thrilling. He’s done a fantastic job filling the shoes of historic Laker greats like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Kobe has evolved into a leader and through his injuries; he’s always fought his way back. Kobe has talked about battling the mental discouragement that comes with physical injuries and sitting in meditation has helped him overcome. He’s known for always respecting every generation of player and has brought his A-game to play out his final season. He’s the whole package, and the mark he’s made on basketball will not soon be forgotten.
Kobe Bryant’s charity work has helped inspire and educates After-School All-Stars in Los Angeles, as the official ambassador, he’s helped with activities for self-esteem, leadership, and respect. The ASAS-LA program assists up to 72,000 inner-city students and he’s an advocate to help build stronger healthier communities. His awe-inspiring talent has influenced many aspiring basketball players that continue to admire and look up to him.
The Final Showdown:
Wednesday, April 13, 2016, he’ll play his final game, with home court advantage, LA Lakers vs. Utah Jazz. If you’re not going to have the opportunity to pay $6 - $20,000 for a seat to #24’s last game, we hope that you have fire up the Traeger, throw on some “Kobe” steaks, and enjoy his last game on ESPN2 with a few friends and brews.
What’s next for Kobe is a mystery as of now, but from all of us at Traeger, we wish him well and have enjoyed following your accomplishments. We know that this won’t be the last legend he writes.
It’s reported that Kobe Bryant’s favorite foods include spicy food, cheese, and Mexican food. Here’s a few recipes to celebrate and fuel your Game Day NBA BBQ party:
Smoky Buffalo Fries—they’re cheesy and spicy.
Spicy Pulled Pork Carnitas for Tacos – You’ll love this spicy Mexican-style recipe
Cajun Ribs, St. Louis-style – hot hot hot.
Garlic Cheese Fries on the BBQ