‘Best Player in the Draft’: Jerry West Details About Kobe Bryant’s Iconic Predraft Lakers Workout

Published 03/03/2021, 1:00 PM EST
LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 26: Laker’s Kobe Bryant ,24, celebrates a three pointer in the fourth quarter as the Lakers beat the Nuggets 122-107 during a first round playoff basketball game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers April 23. 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)


One thing that separates the great players from the normal players is that they start showing their potential at a very early age, be it their natural talent or sheer hard work. In the case of Kobe Bryant, it was definitely the latter.

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Prior to being drafted into the league, Kobe went under the radar of most teams. However, Kobe Bryant impressed the LA Lakers in his pre-draft workout. It was apparently so phenomenal that the Lakers were 100% sure Kobe was the future of the franchise.

Just as the franchise predicted, the Mamba played for 20 years in the league as a member of the Lakers. In those 20 years, he won various accolades and delivered won five NBA champions for the organization.

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Lakers legends on the pre-draft workout of Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant answers questions during a press conference held at the Lakers training facility in El Segundo, Calif.. Thursday, July 15, 2004. Bryant chose the Lakers over the Clippers, remaining with the team he joined in 1996 at age 18 and later helped win three NBA championships. (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)

Lakers legends Michael Cooper and Jerry West sat down for an interview with ESPN. In the interview the two shared their thoughts about Kobe’s pre-draft workout. Cooper said:

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I thought I was going to go out there and whip his a*s, to tell you the truth. That was my thought. I was like, ‘OK, look, I don’t give a f–k how old I am, I’m not gonna let some f–king guy do anything, and boy was I brought back to reality quick. In a hurry I found out that 40 and 17 don’t go together on the court.”

Jerry West said, “He just had that ‘It’ factor. LeBron James, Magic Johnson, people like that, they just have it. Kobe had it. You could see it. You could feel it, you watch a workout like that—there isn’t much of a choice to think of anything else. I remember saying to Jerry Buss, our owner, I said, ‘Jerry, he’s the best player in the draft.’ I meant it. I would have taken Kobe as the first player in the draft. It was a no-brainer. He had this—forget desire—he just didn’t want to stop playing. Ever.”

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As the two franchise legends predicted, Kobe turned out great. Most NBA fans will forever uphold Bryant as the best Lakers star of all-time.

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Aikansh Chaudhary

771 articles

Aikansh Chaudhary is an NBA columnist for Essentially Sports. Previously, he helped rank various websites using the latest SEO techniques, and wrote over 2000 articles during his stint as a freelance writer. A die hard Lakers fan, Aikansh will forever uphold LeBron James as the GOAT.

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