Kobe Bryant spent his entire NBA career playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Everyone knows the legacy that Bryant left in basketball and how much he meant to the Lakers organization. Though Bryant spent his entire career with the Lakers, there were a handful of other teams who wanted him.
The Lakers agreed to trade Bryant to the Detroit Pistons. But Bryant did everything he could to not go to Detroit.
Kobe Bryant’s career with the Lakers
Bryant was one of the best players to wear the purple and gold. Coming straight out of high school, he was determined to be the best player in the game. He worked hard every day and developed that ‘Mamba Mentality’ throughout his career. Bryant started his career during the 1996-97 season.
He struggled a little bit in his rookie, only averaging 7.6 points coming off the bench. Bryant learned a lot from his first year, and he adjusted to the NBA game quickly. He took his game to another level. After his rookie season, Bryant’s production increased. In his fourth season, he averaged over 20 points for the first time in his career. That season he also won his first championship. From 2000-2002, Bryant was a part of a Lakers team that won three straight NBA titles.
During those three years, Bryant was one of the top players in the league, and he was only getting better. Bryant led the league in scoring during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 season. He averaged 35.4 and 31.6 points per game in those two seasons. It was evident that Bryant was becoming the best player in the game, and his knowledge of the game was on another level.
Kobe Bryant’s final two NBA titles
It was six years since Bryant won his last NBA title with the Lakers in 2002. When the 2008-09 season started, the Lakers went into that season, ready to get back on top. Toward the end of the season, the Lakers went 65-17 and finished first in their division. Bryant averaged 26.8 points per game that season. Going into the playoffs, the Lakers had to battle their way to get to the finals. They would match up against the Orlando Magic and defeated them 4-1. Bryant was named the Finals MVP averaging 32.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 7.4 assists. That was Bryant’s fourth NBA title with the Lakers.
The next season the Lakers had another successful season and found their way back to the NBA finals. This time it was against the Boston Celtics who beat them in the 2008 finals. Bryant was determined to get his revenge and lead his team to another championship. He did just that. It was a battle during the 2010 NBA finals, but Bryant led his team to back-to-back championships. The Lakers won the series in seven games, and Bryant was named the Finals MVP once again.
A lot of people thought that Bryant could not win another championship without Shaquille O’Neal. But he was able to win two straight without him and carried his team in both of those seasons. Bryant finished his career with five titles. He finished his career averaging 25 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4,7 assists per game.
The Lakers agreed to trade Kobe Bryant to Detroit in 2007
Bryant’s career with the Lakers could have been over in 2007. The Detroit Free Press confirmed in 2015 that the Lakers agreed to trade Bryant to the Lakers for Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Amir Johnson and a first-round pick. Bryant said in 2015 that he used his no-trade clause to stop the deal.
Bryant had many matchups against the Pistons throughout his career, and he lost to them in the 2004 NBA finals playing for the Lakers. If that trade did go through, Bryant might not have won his final two NBA championships.
It’s apparent that Bryant did not want to leave the Lakers and join the Pistons. Bryant is one of those players that you could not picture wearing a different jersey because of what he did for the Lakers over his NBA career. He will always be remembered in the game of basketball and in life in general.