The Mamba is human, and so Kobe Bryant turns 35 today. While he’s convalescing â€” as only he can â€” it’s important to take stock of a 17-year career that will end with induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. He’s one the top 10 players of all time, he’s got five rings â€” the same number as Magic, and he’s not done just yet.
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The early years: rookie maturation, figuring out whether he can play on the NBA level, high-flying dunks, acrobatic drives in the lane and the beginning of the thirst for success that would follow.