Kobe Bryant lost his life along with eight other people in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, (CA), Sunday. A look at the highlights of one of the greatest NBA players of any generation.
Drafted 13th overall by Hornets
The Carolina Hornets selected Kobe Bryant 13th overall out of Lower Merion, (PA), High School. Bill Branch, the Hornets’ head scout at the time, said the Hornets agreed to trade their draft selection at #13 to the Lakers the day before the draft. The Lakers were going to send center Vlade Divac to Charlotte so they could open salary cap space for Shaquille O’Neal, who was going to be a free agent. During the draft, the Lakers told the Hornets whom to select minutes before the pick was made. Bryant was the first guard drafted directly out of high school. After the draft, the trade was put in jeopardy when Vlade Divac threatened to retire rather than be traded from Los Angeles. However, on June 30, Divac relented on his threat and the trade was made final on July 9, 1996, when the league’s off-season moratorium ended. Since Bryant was 17 at the time, his parents had to co-sign his contract with the Lakers until he was able to sign his own when he turned 18 before the season began. Bryant signed a three-year rookie contract totaling $3.5 million.