Even though he has been retired for over a year now, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant has remained in the news pretty regularly. Most recently Kobe appeared on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon where he performed a slam poem in honor of the 1990s sitcom ‘Family Matters.’
That show was, of course, most known for character Steve Urkel, one of the most iconic TV characters of the era, who was played by Jaleel White. Back in the 90s, White attended UCLA, where many NBA players would play pickup basketball during the offseason.
As White told TMZ Sports, Bryant would come in during the summer of 1996, before his rookie season with the Lakers, and destroyed the UCLA Men’s Basketball Team:
“I’m telling you, probably the greatest pickup games I’ve ever seen in my life, I watched him destroy young men’s dreams at 17 years old. [UCLA] had just won the ’95 championship that year so we had a lot of guys on the team that were pretty cocky. He wanted to just, like s*** on anyone who thought they could play basketball in the city. And that’s what he did.”
As White pointed out, UCLA had recently won the National Championship, so there were plenty of future professional players and All-Americans on the team. For Kobe to dominate them at only 17 years old shows just how talented he was even at that age. Kobe’s future Lakers teammate Jelani McCoy, who also attended UCLA at the time, even confirmed that Kobe really was the dominant force that White claimed.
Kobe’s desire to be the best player in the world was truly something to be admired. He would not be denied, and he ultimately became arguably the greatest Laker and one of the best players to ever step foot in the NBA. Those who saw him at 17 years old probably weren’t too shocked at what he ultimately became.
View the full interview below: