Kobe Bryant was drafted into the NBA when he was just 17 years old. Since he was still just a baby at the time of the 1996 draft, his parents had to cosign his contract with the Lakers until he was able to sign his own when he turned 18 before the season began.
Shortly after he was drafted, Bryant moved to Los Angeles where actor Jaleel White (Stefan Urkell) attended UCLA. The actor told TMZ how Kobe would show up to the UCLA gym and destroy the UCLA basketball team, which was coming off a star-studded National Championship team featuring Ed O’Bannon, Toby Bailey, and Tyus Edney. The squad was extra cocky, and got showed up by a dude who was just months removed from high school and leading his team to its first state championship in 53 years.
“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 shit on anybody who thought they could play basketball in the city and that’s what he did!”
And we all know how the story ends–5 NBA titles, 18 All-Star appearances, 15-time All-NBA, 12-time All-Defense team, 1 very public adultery.
His high school highlights are absurd.