Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest and most influential individuals to ever pass through the NBA.
That was true before and after his tragic death in January 2020.
The Los Angeles Lakers legend was drafted as a 17-year-old and lived up to the hype and more.
His name is in the news today because it marks the 25-year anniversary since he made his Laker debut.
Bryant’s first performance was a quiet one, but it launched a career that will never be forgotten.
25 years today, Kobe Bryant made his NBA debut for the Lakers.
He played only six minutes off the bench and scored zero points.
A quiet start to a legendary career. pic.twitter.com/f5AjXbEZ9m
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 3, 2021
25 years later, the NBA will never be the same.
Getting To Los Angeles
Looking back on the 1996 NBA Draft is tough for Charlotte Hornets fans even to this day.
That is because the organization actually selected Bryant, only to trade him for Vlade Divac.
That trade was about as shortsighted as they come and Divac only spent two seasons in Charlotte.
The deal allowed Bryant to learn the NBA game off the bench as an 18-year-old with a top franchise.
Kobe Bryant made his debut with the Lakers 25 years ago 💛💜🐍 pic.twitter.com/eWypgDRMW6
— ESPN (@espn) November 3, 2021
By the time his fourth season rolled around, the Lakers were starting a three-peat.
Great franchises like the Lakers always seem to have the best luck in landing top talent and swindling other teams out there.
They flipped Divac for Bryant and formed one of the most legendary duos in NBA history with the young guard and Shaquille O’Neal.
No one knows how Bryant’s career would have turned out if it began in Charlotte.
That hypothetical can be left to history because he went to Los Angeles and became a legend.
It is just still a tragedy that his life after basketball was cut short.
Bryant showed he had so much to give to the world and that is why his legacy lives on and will for a very long time.NEXT: Fans Respond To Russell Westbrook's Return To Oklahoma City