LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — From winning NBA championships and an Academy Award to becoming a devoted husband and father, Kobe Bryant’s successes in life will likely be remembered by both fans and detractors alike.

But in the minds of many, that Hall of Fame legacy carries an asterisk: an allegation by a 19-year-old hotel clerk in Colorado that he raped her.

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The alleged incident in 2003 surfaced months after Bryant and wife Vanessa gave birth to their first daughter, Natalia, now 17.

The woman who made the allegation was working as a front-desk clerk at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in the Rocky Mountains town of Edwards and accompanied Bryant
on a tour of the property. She later went to Bryant’s hotel room, where she said he raped her.

With wife, Vanessa, at his side, Bryant admitted in a news conference at Staples Center that he committed adultery but denied the allegation.

“I sit here in front of you guys furious at myself, disgusted at myself for making a mistake of adultery,” said Bryant.

After nearly a year of discovery and pretrial hearings, Bryant entered a plea of not guilty on May 11, 2004.

As the case moved toward a trial, the accuser’s determination to pursue a criminal case weakened once she added libel attorney Lin Wood to her team. He believed a criminal trial would not end well for her.

EAGLE, CO – JUNE 21: Los Angels Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant (L) arrives with his attorney Pamela Mackey (R) for two days of hearings at the Eagle County Justice Center June 21, 2004 in Eagle, Colorado. Bryant, who is accused of the rape of a 19-year-old woman, may have his trail date set during the two days of hearings. (Photo by Ed Andrieski-Pool/Getty Images)

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Court transcripts showed a DNA expert laid out additional evidence bolstering the defense’s contention that Bryant’s accuser had sex with someone else shortly after the alleged rape.

Ultimately, the accuser decided not to testify and prosecutors dropped the case Sept. 1, 2004. A civil suit brought by the accuser in August 2004 was settled out of court in March of the following year.

Bryant later said he believed the encounter was consensual, but acknowledged that the accuser “does not view this incident the same way I did”.

For a time, Bryant lost as much as $6 million in endorsement contracts, including Nike, for whom he resumed serving as pitchman in July 2005.

“After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter,” he said.

More than a decade later, the rape allegation resurfaced when thousands of people signed an online petition demanding Bryant to be stripped of his Oscar nomination for his animated short, “Dear Basketball”. He later won the Academy Award, but was dropped from an animation festival jury over the accusations.

Bryant, 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash Jan. 26 in the hills of Calabasas.

He is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and daughters Natalia, Capri and Bianka.

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