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There is nothing but this court, this play, these men, this ball -- this peculiar ball, the usual orangey brown, only this one dressed up with the two white rings of international play -- as it traces a high arcing parabola through the air, meanwhile rotating sweetly backward, a shot born of the countless other shots that have preceded it, hundreds of thousands of shots, perhaps millions taken and made over years and years of solitary practice in gyms and driveways and playgrounds from Italy to Philadelphia....
A few years ago, Kobe fractured the fourth metacarpal bone in his right hand.
The second hit came just days after Manning became the first quarterback to lead two different teams to Super Bowl titles.
As Manning, his fans and those who trade on his positive image basked in what appeared to be a fairy-tale ending to one of football's most storied careers, an old allegation was resurrected.
The charges were eventually dropped after Bryant's accuser declined to testify.
On November 29, 2015 Bryant announced he will retire after the 2015 season.
Just ask Kobe Bryant and Pamela Mackey, the woman in charge of defending him from sexual assault charges.
But both did happen, and the events that followed have resulted in the most recent entry in the Trial of the Century sweepstakes - a case that involves sexual assault, race, celebrity and money and, despite the fact that its outcome will not be resolved until May or June at the earliest, still manages to make national headlines at least once a week.
For Kobe Bryant is not just any basketball celebrity; he's charismatic, astonishingly gifted, and scored 1,080 on his SAT's (a fact that has been reported more times than there are points in that score).
From 2000 to 2002, the dynamic duo of Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant completed a three-peat, winning three NBA championships. O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat prior to the 2004-05 NBA season.
Bryant and coach Phil Jackson have been leading the Lakers since.
Kobe Bryant is the youngest child and only son of Joe and Pam Bryant (they also have two daughters, Shaya and Sharia).