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18 Years After NBA Ban, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant Hailed as “Special Ops” by Hall of Famers for an Exceptional Reason

Published 06/09/2023, 5:50 PM EDT

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The greats of the game are known by many names. Most of this comes from the fans as they look at these stars with a lot of admiration. However, what makes a nickname even more special is when it comes from a peer of an exceptional athlete. Two of the greatest athletes of all time, LeBron James and the late great Kobe Bryant recently had another name added to their list. This time, coming from two Hall of Famers, their new name is given for an exceptional reason.

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Not just LeBron and Kobe, the two Hall of Famers are also part of the group “special-ops.” But why did they call themselves the special-ops? Let’s find out.

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James made part of the “special-ops” by two Hall of Famers


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Bryant and James are two of the biggest achievers this sport has ever seen, winning 5 and 4 NBA titles, respectively. Other than that, their All-Star appearances, MVP trophies, and much more make them larger than life. The two legends also won gold medals while representing their country with the esteemed Redeem Team. Adding another feather to their stacked cap is not a rare sight. However, high praise coming from their peers is a special moment. Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady, two Hall of Famers of the sport, recently talked about the supergroup that included them as well as the two superstars who have represented the LA Lakers.

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All four legends have one thing in common, which is that they all came from high school into the NBA. On a recent episode of KG Certified, McGrady, and Garnett talked about the high school batch that entered the league. McGrady said, “We had a crew,” with KG, T-Mac, Kobe, LeBron, and Dwight Howard. KG jumped in with his special-ops analogy. He said, “I always call the high school guys, the special ops. You know you got the Navy, right? Then you got the special ops and the SEALS and they are on a different level.”


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KG stated that despite being less in number, the high school players are the highest quality players in the league.


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Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady talk about the change in NBA rules

Back in 2005, the NBA decided to ban the entry of high school athletes into the NBA. After that, they had to go through their college process as well. However, before the ban was imposed, a total of 41 high schoolers were drafted into the NBA.

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After an 18-year-long ban, the NBA will be reopening the entry of high school athletes into the league, starting next year. The two legends agreed that there is going to be another wave of high school athletes in the NBA who will leave their mark on the biggest stage.

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Prateek Singh

382 articles

Prateek Singh is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports, known for his insightful coverage of the league. With a deep passion for basketball fueled by the late Kobe Bryant's championship runs, Prateek has built his writing career on astute analysis and a firm understanding of the game. His transparent reporting and dedication to providing quality content have earned him credibility and respect among readers and industry professionals alike.

Edited By: Debmallya Chakraborty