When a Young Kobe Bryant Revealed the Details of His Historic Trade to the Lakers

Published 09/22/2021, 4:00 PM EDT
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)


It has been a year and a half since the tragic passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Both on and off the court, Kobe was a maverick. He will forever remain a certified Lakers legend, but will also be remembered for the person he was. However, the lesser known fact is that the former player was in fact initially picked by the Charlotte Hornets. Only after this did he find his way to Los Angeles.

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During his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, the iconic Kobe Bryant played over 1000 games, and scored an average of 25 points per season. The guard-forward soon developed into one of the best players of his generation. He instilled a chilling ‘Mamba mentality’ into his side, which would go on to make his Lakers team one of the most feared in the history of the sport. But what people don’t remember, is the absurd way in which Kobe even found himself joining the the yellow brigade in the first place.

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The trade that changed the life of Kobe Bryant

In the 1996 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets opted for a young boy from Lower Merion High School as their 13th overall pick. This was none other than Bryant himself. What followed was a draft day trade that altered the NBA’s history books forever. In a magnificent deal, the Hornets sent Kobe Bryant to the LA Lakers in exchange for Vlade Divac. And the rest, as they say, is history. But how did the young Kobe react to his trade?

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In a major throwback video, the 18-time All-star is seen talking about what Charlotte told him before the swap. Though it was a harsh bit of words spoken, Kobe took it all with a smile on his face. He quoted his original buyers, explaining what they told him. “We don’t have too much use for you here in Charlotte. You can’t really come in and help us out too much, so we’re thinking of trading you to Los Angeles.” He also made his simple response public. “Okay, all right, that’s cool.”

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Boston, Massachusettes–June 17, 2008 Lakers Kobe Bryant walks off the court as the Celtics celebrate the championship in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at the TD Banknorth Center Tuesday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

I think it’s clear for the whole world as to who benefited from the ’96 deal more. Kobe Bryant’s arrival at LA surely changed the side’s history forever. It will remain one of the greatest swap deals in the NBA for a long time.

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

298 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is a tennis and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football, and table tennis. Apart from his professional desires, Sankalp does voluntary service with his friends to feed hungry animals on a regular basis.

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