Kobe Bryant! A name with which every baller of the era is familiar. He is not just a name. He’s a brand. An inspiration and a trendsetter for what basketball is today. He is the man to be remembered for the impact he had on the sport.
Now that the legend has hung his boots on the 20 year long amazing NBA career with the Purple and Yellows, he would surely be remembered as the best player to have played for the legendary Los Angeles Lakers and even in the league. In a series of articles, Sports-Nova takes pride in falling back to the old times and run again through time to celebrate the best career of the era.
Lets look at the stats, records and the most amazing moments of Kobe’s career.
Born in Philadelphia, since when he first picked the ball at 6, young Kobe, son of the former NBA player Joe “Jellybean” Bryant who went on to ball in the Italian League, was a fan of the LA Lakers. He was always inspired by the legendary Michael Jordan. The kid learnt his basics and started ball in Italy.
Kobe Bryant! a name, which was echoing in all the basketball fraternity for his wonders in the High school level basketball playing for the Lower Merion High School, helping his school win the State Championship after 53 long years in 1996. He was a hero both for the school, the society and the whole of high school and university basketball.
Then, was the time the 17-year old young Kobe took “The Most Amazing Decision” that very rarely did we witness. He had high aims and wished to surpass his idol, Jordan. For which he felt that going into the NBA through college basketball would take longer time than it takes. So, he took the decision to skip college and directly enter the most elite basketball league NBA directly. He gained overnight publicity when he called everyone for a press meet and announced his decision. This interview is considered one of the most epic in his life when he posed his attitude to the world bravely and won many hearts with the passion he had for the game and his career. He also practiced with the 76ers during the off season and got onto many franchises’ pick lists.
“With the 13th pick of Round 1 in the 1996 NBA draft, the Charlotte Hornets select, Kobe Bryant! from the Lower Merion High School” this is something that took the world with surprise. The Hornets were in need of a center after trading away star center Alonzo Mourning to the Miami Heat. The Lakers agreed to a pre-draft trade with the then Charlotte Hornets in which the Hornets would draft Bryant with the 13th pick, and trade him to the Lakers for center Vlade Divac.
Jerry West, the then General Manager of the Lakers has seen Kobe workout with some of the Lakers and even beat them. He was the man behind getting this trade manipulating well with Hornets coach Dave Cowens and Kobe’s agent Arn Tellem. He felt that the move would turn out to be one of the biggest trades in the history of the NBA. After the draft session, Kobe addressed the press conference that followed the draft in the “Jordan” style wearing a brown blazer and a pair of sunglassses over his shaved head. It was a dream come for true for young Kobe to play in purple and yellow.
And no one could have envisioned Bryant becoming the transcendent superstar that he would eventually become. No one except the great Jerry West that is.
It’s a 20 year long career and it’s just the beginning of our journey, a long way to go, a lot of articles to come…