Los Angeles Lakers icon, Kobe Bryant didn’t win five NBA Championships by accident.
The 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft out of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, PA, Bryant is the NBA’s fourth all-time leading scorer and did tons with legends like Shaquille O’Neal, Paul Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Metta World Peace, Lamar Odom and tons more.
Appearing on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, ex-Lakers point guard, John Celestand discusses what made Kobe Bryant special and different.
Check out a snippet from our dialogue below:
John Celestand on if there was a disconnection between young Kobe and the veteran players on the team:
“Definitely. You gotta understand, Kobe didn’t go to college. The guys fraternized with their teammates in college, right? Most of these guys have grown up in certain types of neighborhoods. Not all the same, but a lot of NBA players from urban neighborhoods. Kobe, he was different. He grew up in Europe. Came over to Philly err, Lower Merion in 8th grade. It wasn’t like he grew up the same as the rest of us. Kobe didn’t go to college. He didn’t play four years. He didn’t play two years. He didn’t even play one year in college so, he didn’t have that. He wasn’t into the same things off the court that a lot of “typical athletes” were into. He wasn’t playing cards on the flight, hanging out at the clubs for the most part. I rarely saw him drink alcohol. He didn’t even drink alcohol that much. So, it was different but it could come off as standoffish. It could come off as sadity or uppity, but I think he was focused on basketball. And when he came into the league he was 18, so there was a lot of things he couldn’t do anyway, right? So he probably just learned to surround himself with basketball and just live and breathe basketball. What else is an eighteen year old going to do Los Angeles, right? When you’ve never been away from home really. When I got there, he was 21. But he just wasn’t into those type of things. I understood that because you know, not everybody does things exactly the same and you know, Shaq was totally different. Shaq was out. Shaq was a partyer. Shaq was an extrovert. Shaq was the life of the party and Kobe was more introspective. A little more quieter. A little more serious. You know, he might be reading a book like ‘The Art of War’ on the plane, while everybody else is making jokes. That’s who he was man.”
John Celestand was the Los Angeles’ 30th pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. He won a championship with Bryant in 2000 against the Indiana Pacers.