Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest scorers in NBA history, even at a young age.
Former Lakers player and coach Byron Scott shared the story of Bryant’s pre-draft workout that made former Lakers general manager Jerry West want to draft him.
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“He said, ‘I just saw the best workout I’ve seen in my whole life,’” Scott said about what West felt upon seeing Kobe play. “And I was like, ‘Who are you talking about, Logo?’ He said, ‘This kid named Kobe Bryant.’ And I said, ‘Really?’ He said, ‘Really. High school kid.’ I said, ‘High school?’ He said, ‘Yeah. Kobe Bryant is going to be unbelievable.’”
In the workout, Bryant squared off against Lakers assistant coach Michael Cooper, who was a five-time NBA champion and former NBA Defensive Player of the Year during the 1986-87 season.
Bryant absolutely destroyed him.
“Coop was just messing around the first couple of points, and then Coop got serious and tried to guard him and he couldn’t really guard him,” Scott said. “So Jerry was like, ‘This is the best workout I’ve ever seen.’”
West wouldn’t get to select Bryant himself, as the Charlotte Hornets took the Lower Merion High School star with the No. 13 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. However, West immediately orchestrated a trade, sending center Vlade Divac to Charlotte in exchange for Bryant.
The trade may go down as the best deal in Lakers’ history as Bryant brought five more NBA titles to Los Angeles in his illustrious 20-year career.