Shocking Story Reveals Kobe Bryant Didn’t Trust Anyone With Secrets: “He Never Told His Coach That He Was Going to Jump From High School to the NBA”

Published 01/15/2022, 8:30 AM EST
EL SEGUNDO, CA – OCT. 1, 2012. Lakers star player Kobe Bryant is all smiles during the teams’ media day at their El Segundo training facility on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Kobe Bryant was one of the best of his generation and played under several top coaches in the NBA during his time. However, he had a special relationship with his high school coach Gregg Downer. Gregg was the coach of Lower Merion High School, Pennsylvania, when Kobe used to play for them before his NBA career.

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Kobe had an amazing high school career and even played on the varsity team as a freshman. In fact, he was the first freshman in the past decades to play as a starter for the varsity team of Lower Merion. Kobe put up incredible numbers in his high school and decided to jump directly to the NBA. By doing this, he became only the 6th player ever to do so in NBA history.

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However, Kobe kept his decision a secret and not many knew about this decision. In fact, according to Mike Sielski, author of ‘The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality’, Gregg didn’t know that Kobe was going to make the jump from high school to the NBA.

Kobe Bryant didn’t tell his coach about his decision to jump from high school to NBA

Mike Sielski recently appeared on ‘The Woj Pod‘ with Adrian Wojnarowski. During the podcast, Mike opened up on Kobe, keeping secrets. He also added that Gregg, despite being close to Kobe, didn’t know about his decision to jump directly to the NBA.

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“They (Gregg and Kobe) were very close, but Kobe, as you know, was incredible at compartmentalizing things and keeping secrets,” Mike Sielski said.

“So one of the big themes in the book and one of the narrative phrases the fact that how few people knew after the summer of 1995 when he kind of realized that I can make the jump from high school to the NBA. How few people know he was going to do that and how few people he told he was going to do that. He never told Gregg Downer explicitly that he was gonna jump from Lower Merion High School directly to the NBA. Gregg told me that and Kobe acknowledges in his tapes.”

Kobe averaged 31.1 points in his junior year and was named Pennsylvania Player of the Year. His performances for Lower Merion garnered interest from several top colleges. But Kobe had different plans. Kobe even became the MVP at the Adidas ABCD camp in 1995. In his senior year, Kobe led his team to their first state championship in 53 years. He ended his career at Lower Merion as the all-time top scorer in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

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Bryant received several other awards, such as the Naismith High School Player of the Year. Kobe then declared himself for the 1996 NBA draft and the rest is history.

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Abhishek Singh

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Abhishek is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports with over two years of journalistic experience with Chase Your Sport and Dribl. A Football Management graduate, he has previously interned in the Indian Super League, I-League and the AFC Champions League. In addition to being a Michael Jordan fan, Abhishek is an ardent Steph Curry and Warriors guy, and believes they have a few more championships in store before the former retires.

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