The best thing to happen to the NBA since Michael Jordan, Kobe is a breath of fresh air in an era of inflated egos and questionable character.

The son of a former NBA player Joe Bryant, Kobe jumped directly from high school to the pros in 1996 and enjoyed an impressive rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Despite his young age and lack of college hoops experience, Kobe has shown incredible maturity as a player. He routinely scores in double digits and was voted as a starter in the 1998 All-Star Game. Only 19 , he became the youngest All-Star in history.

And he is fine.