Kobe’s Drive for Five Will Solidify Place in History

June 4th, 2010 by Jay Reynolds Leave a reply »

The late ‘90s was an interesting time for the NBA. Michael Jordan was on his way out and, as usual, the media wanted a new face of the NBA world.

Along came a 17-year old out of Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, PA who was quickly labeled as being the next “Air Apparent.” Kobe Bryant was bombarded with Michael Jordan comparisons the moment he stepped on to the basketball court as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

His first two seasons, however, failed to meet those high expectations. As a rookie in the 1996-97 season, Kobe averaged 7.6 points and 15.5 minutes per game and found himself in the starting lineup only six times.

His sophomore season, as the sixth man, his numbers increased but he still remained the backup to Eddie Jones.

The next season, the Lakers traded Jones to the Charlotte Hornets, in turn, giving the starting job to Kobe. The Lakers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals of the playoffs that season.

At the turn of the ce ...

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