Kobe Bryant was not interested in hanging out with his own teammates during the early years in the NBA as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Not really suprising, actually.
He was 17-years old when he was drafted by the Lakers.
Bryant had more in common with a high school senior or a college freshmen than with grow men that were his teammates during the 1996-97 NBA season.
“Kobe was put together differently than a lot of other guys,” retired NBA vet, J.R. Reid told me via Scoop B Radio.
For those keeping score at home: J.R. Reid was drafted fifth overall by the Hornets in the 1989 NBA Draft, Reid is a product of Virginia Beach, VA and came as advertised after a stellar high school career at Kempsville High School. In high school: Reid was named Gatorade and USA TODAY’s Player of the Year. He’d suit up for the University of North Carolina under legendary coach, Dean Smith, where he was an All-American.
“We tried to get him to shoot some craps with us in the back, we started cracking jokes. I might be reading some stock stuff, computers, car stuff and Kobe is over there reading about The Art of War. He’s trying to be a mental assassin.”
Bryant also had time to be a kid also. Actor, Jaleel White once told TMZ that not only did Kobe Bryant began testing himself and more than holding his own against NBA competition as a teenager, he also did it against college players.
According to White: Kobe Bryant once destroyed members of the UCLA Bruins hoops team shortly after moving to L.A. when the Lakers drafted him as a 17-year-old.
That Bruins squad featured the likes of Tyus Edney, Toby Bailey, Cameron Dollar and the O’Bannon brothers.
“I was attending UCLA when Kobe moved from Philadelphia to L.A.,” White said.
“So, he used to hang out at UCLA a lot and I would watch him play our UCLA basketball team … and 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 … and we had just won a ’95 championship that year so we had a lot of guys on the team that were pretty cocky.
“He wanted to just sh*t on anybody who thought they could play basketball in the city and that’s what he did!”
J.R. Reid was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1999 season. Upon the suggestion of Jerry West, the man who drafted Bryant; Reid became Bryant’s mentor.
Reid says knew back then that Bryant was growing into a special player. “Kobe was a great teammate,” Reid told Scoop B Radio.
That’s high praise and acute knowledge. In 20 NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers; his only NBA ball club, Bryant became a five-time NBA Champion in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010. The Lower Merion High School product also became a 17-time NBA All-Star (had 17 consecutive selections), was the NBA’s Slam Dunk Champion in 19997, scored 81 Points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.