Kobe Bryant was drafted into NBA in 1996 by the Charlotte Hornets and was immediately traded to the Lakers. With the trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe spent his 20-season career with a single franchise. The 18-year-old year old making his debut with an NBA franchise became the second youngest player and starter in the history of the NBA.
“With the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets select… Kobe Bryant.” ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/qdNpPzlftz
— SLAM Rewind (@SLAMRewind) June 20, 2019
Kobe’s debut was in the Summer Pro League where he scored 25 points. The performance was greatly acknowledged by former Lakers coach Del Harris. He averaged 24.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in just four games. Following this, he made his debut as the youngest dunk champion in the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest and won it.
18-year-old Kobe Bryant made his NBA debut 24 years ago today.
It was the first of 11 scoreless games during his rookie season. He finished his career with a 60-point performance & 33,643 career points (4th most in NBA history) 💜💛🐍 pic.twitter.com/OJl3QexfzL
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 3, 2020
Thus, Kobe’s abilities as a player improved more at such a young age in only his second season and after Phil Jackson joined as a coach. However, his gameplay at the beginning earned him to be compared and named alongside the best players like Michael Jordan. His performances alongside Shaquille O’Neal in the Lakers are still considered among the best combinations in NBA.
Did Kobe Bryant play for the Charlotte Hornets?
Kobe Bryant‘s draft in 1996 was made by the Charlotte Hornets as the 13th pick. However, he never played with the franchise and joined the Lakers. As per sources, before he traded with the Lakers, the team was suffering much and needed to acquire good players to lead the team.
In 1996 the Lakers signed Shaquille O’Neal as a free agent. With this, they were trying to trade their starting center Vlade Divac to free up the salary cap space. Following this, the Lakers general manager Jerry West’s attention was caught by a high school senior Kobe Bryant. Initially, the Hornets were not interested in drafting Kobe but were convinced by the Lakers just some minutes before the draft.
25 Years Ago Today: Vlade Divac accepts trade from Lakers to Hornets.
Lakers get draft pick Kobe Bryant.
Said then Hornets owner George Shinn: “I think this is the best trade we’ve made in the history of the franchise.” pic.twitter.com/p8ALpVaYNG
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 11, 2021
Kobe Bryant at the age of 17 and a high school pass out was in the NBA draft in 1996. A year later after reaching the adulthood stage of 18 he then signed his first contract of about $3.5 million for 3 years with the Lakers. No one could have imagined of what he has achieved in his career. He has been one of the greatest players to play for the Lakers.