LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and his wife Vanessa have filed for divorce after more than 10 years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences, a representative for the couple said on Friday.

"We ask that in the interest of our young children and in light of the upcoming holiday season, the public respect our privacy during this most difficult time," the couple, who have two children, said in a statement.

The couple's spokesman said Bryant, 33, and Vanessa, 29, resolved all issues regarding the divorce privately and both filed petitions. Vanessa went first and Kobe shortly thereafter.

Bryant has helped lead the Lakers to five National Basketball Association championships, has been named a most valuable player, been the league's top scorer and played on numerous all-star teams.

He was drafted into the NBA directly from high school in 1996 at the age of 17 and in his initial years enjoyed a stellar reputation with fans as a highly skilled player.

In 2003, Bryant was accused of sexual assault by an employee at a Colorado hotel, tarnishing his reputation and leading to a media storm to cover his trial. He denied the claims and charges eventually were dropped after the woman refused to testify.

Bryant and his wife were married in April 2001 and throughout the sex scandal she stayed with her husband.

(Editing by Bill Trott)