In 1996 Los Angeles Lakers general manager Jerry West completed a draft day trade with the Charlotte Hornets to acquire the draft rights to the 13th overall pick, 17-year-old Kobe Bryant out of Lower Merrion High School in Pennsylvania in exchange for the Lakers starting center, Vlade Divac.
Many people around the league did not know much about Bryant at the time, but they would soon find out as Bryant went on to become one of the best basketball players to ever lace up his shoes, playing 20 seasons for the Lakers.
West knew what he had in Bryant though, as he brought him in for a pre-draft workout where he scrimmaged against former Lakers players Larry Drew and Michael Cooper, and according to West, Bryant marched over them.
After signing his contract with the Lakers Bryant played in the 1996 NBA Summer League, where he continued to destroy his competition. Some rare footage of Bryant’s rookie summer league campaign was recently released, via NBA español:
A los 17 años de edad Kobe Bryant ya era dominante. Esto es de la Summer League en 1996. Se fue a los 36 pts. 🐐🐍pic.twitter.com/zA8oFIgzsR
— NBA español (@_eNBA) August 12, 2017
That summer Bryant scored 27 points in his debut, and then followed that up by scoring 22 and 15 in the next two games before closing out the summer by scoring a league-high 36 points against the Phoenix Suns.
Bryant’s rookie summer league performance went on to foreshadow what was to come for the talented guard, as he ranks third on the all-time NBA scoring list at 33,643 points.
He led the Lakers to five championships in his career, and was named to 18 All-Star teams, which is the second most all-time behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
As was the case when he came into the league in 1996, Bryant went out in style in 2016, scoring 60 points and leading the Lakers to a comeback victory over the Utah Jazz in his final career game.