Kobe Bryant Would’ve Failed in the NBA Without Being Rescued by the LA Lakers

Only nine seconds still grace the scoreboard and the shot clock is turned off. Everyone in the arena knows who is going to get the ball, but not much can be done to stop him.

He receives the ball right off of the left elbow, backing into another unwary young shooting guard just waiting to be violated. What happens next is what created the phenomenon: Kobe! Kobe! Kobe!

For the last 14 years, Kobe Bryant has captivated fans of all ages for the Los Angeles Lakers—love him or hate him—he does it quite well.

But as millions of us continue to chant “MVP” to no avail, one must wonder, what would the NBA be like if Kobe wasn’t dressed in purple and gold? Would he be known more commonly as just Bryant?

Simply put—absolutely.

In the 1996 NBA Draft, Kobe Bryant was picked 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets at the age of 17, and was then traded to the Lakers.

When Bryant first entered the league, he was surrounded by extreme talent—though he was criticized by scouts for his size and cocky demeanor. However, since Bryant had the opportunity to play around future stars like Shaquille O’Neal and Derek Fisher for the majority of his career, his mantra was born.

If Bryant would have stayed in Charlotte, however, his legacy may tell a completely different story—or may have been nonexistent.

Before the higher education policy of the NBA implemented preceding the 2005 season, prep-to-pro phenoms were deemed “saviors” by their respect teams, and thus, immense amounts of pressure were placed on athletes still too young to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Few players are truly ready for the NBA at such a young age—LeBron James and Dwight Howard are good examples.

However, unlike these future Hall of Famers, Bryant would have been placed into a small Charlotte market that didn’t have a lot of time t...

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