Dajuan Wagner Explains How Kobe Bryant Selling Out a College Arena as a High Schooler Inspired Him to Work Harder

Published 08/04/2021, 1:30 PM EDT


The Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has left behind a ton of memories for the NBA league to cherish. His inspiration and mentality was an unsaid superiority that many players have tried to replicate.

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Kobe’s relevance as a role model in the NBA has spread to veterans as well as the younger players. The 5-time champion was famous for his Mamba Mentality right from his early career years. Well, former NBA player Dajuan Wagner received motivation from a high school Kobe Bryant.

LOS ANGELES, CA, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2014 – Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during pregame warmups before a preseason game against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

All-Star Kobe Bryant is inspiring players from way back

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In a recent episode of Knuckleheads, Wagner narrated how Kobe’s game sold out a Lower Merion arena an hour before it even started.

“Lower Merion was playing Chester at Villanova University. So we get there an hour early but couldn’t get in. It’s a college arena. Kobe is playing. We can’t get in? Damn. So that’s motivation for me. I still haven’t seen Kobe called play that night. But for him (to get) everybody crazy like that, selling out a college arena, that made me go home and work some more. I gotta work.”

Well, that is what inspiration looked like for Dajuan Wagner. He played three seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, unprecedented health problems forced him to exit NBA basketball in quite a short span. Wagner is an NIT champion and a 2001 Naismith Prep Player of the Year. Unfortunately, his days in the league were numbered despite a notable sophomore year.

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Kobe’s early days at Lower Merion High School

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Back in time, Kobe Bryant found recognition right from his initial years of playing basketball. During his senior high school days at Lower Merion, he received the Naismith High School Player of the Year and Gatorade Men’s National Basketball Player of the Year awards.

From there on a 17 years old Kobe made a move, only the sixth player in NBA history to join the NBA league at this age. That was it for the Black Mamba! Ever since he dominated the sphere of basketball and became the only player to be named so closely to the great Michael Jordan.

Well, from Lower Merion to the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant was a consistent legend at every stage.

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WATCH THIS STORY: Kobe Bryant’s Out of the World Play Against Shaquille O’Neal and Others 

 

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Pavni Ahuja

504 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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