Kobe Bryant went on to have a successful NBA career. He left a long-lasting legacy in the NBA, and he will always be remembered. Many players try to model his work ethic and drive, and they want to succeed as he did.
When Bryant first came into the league, it was a tough time for him. That was one low point that he faced in his career.
Kobe Bryant’s first few years in the league
When Bryant came into the league out of high school, he was ready to prove himself as a young rookie. During the 1996-97 season, Bryant played in 71 games, only starting in six of them. He averaged 15.5 minutes per game and averaged 7.6 points per game. That season Allen Iverson won the Rookie of the Year award. Bryant was named to the All-Rookie Second Team.
In his second year, Bryant saw his minutes increase but still came off the bench. He did average more points scoring 15.4 points per game, but he felt as though he wasn’t getting a fair shot. On an episode of Matt Barnes’ and Stephen Jackson’s podcast called All the Smoke, Bryant talked about how he was frustrated that he wasn’t getting playing time. He said that he would have gone to college if he knew he wasn’t going to get that much playing time in his first few seasons.
Bryant talked about how he felt that Del Harris, who was his coach at the time, did not try to show favoritism to the young players, and that ended up not playing. Bryant would watch other players like Iverson and Ray Allen going out there and playing at a high-level while he was glued to the bench.
Kobe Bryant overcoming the adversity
Bryant could have easily checked out because he was not playing that much in his early years. But he was determined to become one of the greatest players in the league, and when he got that opportunity, he did not disappoint.
As Bryant’s career went on, he would make his way into the starting lineup and become one of the Lakers’ top players. His game matured a lot from his first few seasons, and you could tell that he was putting the work in during the offseason and in season. Bryant used those first few seasons as fuel to become a player that people will not forget.
Kobe Bryant finishing as an all-time great
You look at the five championship rings, the multiple all-star appearances, and the other awards that he accomplished throughout his career, and you can put Bryant at the top of the list of all-time greats. When you watched him play on that court, you could see how bad he wanted to win. Even if he weren’t 100 percent out there, he would still play like he was.
Bryant could have a bad shooting night or a bad performance, which would not affect him one bit. He would get straight to work on his game and improve in areas where he can get better. He did a lot for the Lakers organization and the NBA in general. His legacy will continue to live on.