The Charlotte Hornets selected Kobe Bryant in the 1996 NBA Draft on this day.

After graduating from Philadelphia’s Lower Merion High School, Kobe Bryant was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the thirteenth pick in the first round. In a move that would contradict history, he was subsequently traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in return for Vlade Divac.

One of the best players to ever play in the NBA was selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft on June 26, 1996. That player, however, never played for the Hornets.

The Philadelphia native Kobe Bryant of Lower Merion High School was chosen by the Hornets with the thirteenth overall choice. Later that evening, he was dealt for Vlade Divac by the Los Angeles Lakers. The events that followed created NBA history. Before retirement, Bryant spent 20 seasons as a player for the Lakers. Over his playing career, he participated in 1,346 games and averaged 25 points. After being died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, along with his daughter Gigi, at the age of 41, he went on to win five NBA titles and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.

The late Lakers general manager Jerry West, who passed away earlier this month, had a deep romantic relationship with Bryant. He successfully executed a draft night coup alongside Arn Tellem, Bryant’s agent. In 2015, Bryant said Hornets coach Dave Cowens told him he wasn’t wanted in an interview with ESPN The Magazine.

“Cowens told me, ‘We really don’t need you here.” ‘ stated Bryant. “I mean, I had watched hoops my entire life. I was somewhat thrilled to perform for Dave Cowens because I was aware of his fame. Then I thought, “Oh, that’s okay.” I went from being a happy child to having a murderous instinct very fast.” Bryant had not yet concluded his account of that evening.

Bryant declared, “Charlotte never wanted me.” “Cowens informed me that he didn’t desire me. It didn’t even matter if I played there. They already possessed a few guards and a few little forwards. Therefore, I wouldn’t really be off the bench too much.”

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