Former Los Angeles Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant put together an illustrious NBA career that will soon make him a clear-cut first-ballot Hall of Famer in the coming months. Before he began on that path, Bryant was a quite confident high school player that dominated at that level. That made the decision to jump to the NBA the more obvious choice in his mind as an 18-year-old. During that time, Bryant had even declared to his agent that he wanted to be the next Michael Jordan.
Kobe Bryant’s High School Career
Before heading into the NBA, Bryant had put forth an impressive high school career that saw him guide Lower Merion High School to prominence in the country.
In his senior year, Bryant led his school to their first state title in 53 years. That saw him average 30.8 points, 12 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4.0 steals, and 3.8 blocked shots that helped guide Lower Merion to a 31–3 record.
Bryant finished his high school days as the all-time leading scorer with 2,883 points, which surpassed both Wilt Chamberlain and Lionel Simmons for the all-time mark in the state of Pennsylvania. That put Bryant in the position to make a significant decision with the options of going to college or heading straight to the NBA.
It was a decision that the 18-year-old made with a strong stance on why he chose that route.
Kobe Bryant’s bold declaration
Before entering the 1997 NBA Draft, Bryant had put together quite a decorated high school career at Lower Merion High School where he emerged as one of the country’s top talents.
He had his options to attend the powerhouse universities such as Duke and North Carolina but elected to make the jump to the league. It’s something that his former agent Arn Tellem recently opened up about voicing that Bryant was quite firm with the choice to bypass college and become the next Michael Jordan. (H/T Detriot Free Press)
I asked Kobe what he wanted to do. He didn’t hesitate.
“I’m going to the NBA,” he said. “I want to be the next Michael Jordan.”
The influence that Jordan had on Bryant’s career was quite evident as he had many of his mannerisms and moves in his repertoire. He studied many of the game’s greatest talents before heading into the NBA, but the former Chicago Bulls’ great reigned supreme in his mind.
The fact that Bryant wanted to take his place in the league shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as he was an uber-confident player. It only further fuels the reputation of his ultra-competitive mindset.
Kobe Bryant’s legacy
Although Bryant wasn’t considered the same caliber of player that Jordan was during his career, his impact is of the same sentiment. The future Hall of Famer has had the same incredible impact on the generations that have followed him in the NBA.
He has been what Jordan represented to the players that came after him. Bryant’s legacy and mindset have continued and will remain a steady source of inspiration for years to come. That is something that many will draw motivation to be like him in some fashion on the court as he with many of the game’s current stars such as LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George.
His presence over the game is an everlasting one, just like Jordan, which is something that Bryant was shooting to accomplish over his career. It was a steep challenge that he took on before he even stepped on an NBA court, but he put forth an incredible tenure in the league over two years that will forever engrain him with the league and the game of basketball.