Even by his standards, Kobe Bryant’s final game of high school was memorable. He scored 26 points in the Lakers’ loss to Oak Hill Academy, but it wasn’t all about stats for Bryant: there were so many moments that will be forever etched into basketball lore
Kobe Bryant was born on August 23, 1978. He is an American retired professional basketball player who played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association.
Long before establishing himself as one of the best players in NBA history, Kobe Bryant was viewed with suspicion as a somewhat unusual preps-to-pros athlete in whom the Los Angeles Lakers put their confidence.
People weren’t sure what to make of the child who graduated from Philadelphia’s Lower Merion High School. Few players went directly to the NBA, and the optics of a 17-year-old youngster growing up in a huge market like Los Angeles appeared dubious, particularly after Kobe’s flashy selection announcement.
During a series of private scrimmages at UCLA, Kobe had already shown his great potential to a host of NBA and NCAA players. According to others, the adolescent degraded everyone who crossed his way.
During a series of private scrimmages at UCLA, Kobe Bryant showed off his skills.
When Kobe Bryant went on summer travels, he always sought for the first gym he could locate. It just so happened that this particular facility was home to one of the country’s most prominent collegiate basketball teams.
In 1995, the UCLA Bruins had just won the national title and were attracting all sorts of star power from all across the country, including NBA players. But it was Kobe’s light that shined the brightest.
Former UCLA center Jelani McCoy revealed to TMZ Sports that the Black Mamba used to dominate secret scrimmages after Family Matters actor Jaleel White — who portrayed Steve Urkel — stated in 2017 that the Black Mamba used to dominate secret scrimmages.
Bryant had “swagger on a trillion” during the scrimmages, according to McCoy, and replicated moves from opponents in the middle of the game to add to his repertoire. During those runs, he claimed, Kobe’s ceiling was clear, with All-American collegiate players and a slew of other exceptional players.
The Lakers’ knowledge of these scrimmages may have influenced their decision to sign Bryant in 1996.
Bryant was acquired by the Lakers in 1996 in exchange for Vlade Divac from the Charlotte Hornets.
Only as a member of the Lakers did Kobe Bryant wear the Purple and Gold. However, he was not drafted by LA.
Bryant was taken with the 13th overall selection in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets. Their adamant refusal to commit to making Kobe a part of their long-term plans, on the other hand, enabled former Lakers general manager Jerry West to make his move.
In return for the right to Bryant, West gave experienced center Vlade Divac, who has become a significant story for one of basketball’s most renowned organizations. The Logo sensed something unique in Kobe and used him as a selling point during Shaquille O’Neal’s free-agent talks. He practically had to, given that the Divac deal was essentially a salary-cap dump to allow the Lakers to sign Shaq.
Despite this, Bean was still an adolescent. While he may have excelled in high school, he’d have to quickly adjust to the NBA’s enhanced pace and toughness. Indeed, the child struggled at first, but it wasn’t long before his UCLA skill became apparent.
Bryant overcame his rookie woes and quickly established himself as one of the top players in the NBA.
Jerry West (L) and Del Harris (R) of the Los Angeles Lakers present Kobe Bryant in 1996 | Steve Grayson/WireImage
Unlike several other NBA players in the past and present, Kobe Bryant did not instantly establish himself as a superstar. In fact, it’s the polar opposite.
In his debut season, Bryant was often buried on the bench by former Lakers head coach Del Harris. Bean played slightly over 15 minutes a game and subsequently embarrassed himself by hoisting four airballs against the Utah Jazz in a playoff game. However, early setbacks led to ultimate victories.
In 1998, Kobe became the youngest player in NBA history to start an All-Star game. He was named to his second All-Star squad two seasons later and helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a championship. From then, it was all uphill.
Bryant went on to win four more championships, an MVP award, and two scoring crowns throughout his career. He was named to the All-NBA team 15 times and is considered one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Those who saw Bryant as a 17-year-old UCLA basketball player could have anticipated as much.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics and honors.
‘He’s Calling Me Every MF and Every SOB in the World,’ Kobe Bryant once cursed out Charles Barkley through text after Chuck accused him of dogging a Game 7: ‘He’s Calling Me Every MF and Every SOB in the World,’ Kobe Bryant once said.
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