With the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA draft, the Charlotte Hornets chose to roll the dice on a 17-year-old out of Lower Merion High School named Kobe Bryant.
Kobe was one of many future stars in the league that came out of the 1996 NBA draft with Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Peja Stojakovic and Jermaine O’Neal also being drafted that year.
Although Charlotte seemingly made the right choice taking the confident youngster out of Philadelphia, the Hornets decided to accept a trade offer from the Los Angeles Lakers resulting in perhaps the biggest mistake in franchise history for Charlotte.
Kobe was dealt to Los Angeles in exchange for veteran center Vlade Divac, and the rest is history. The Lakers franchise would never be the same again after making the draft day trade to acquire Kobe.
Los Angeles won five titles with Kobe leading the way over the last 18 years and if the team is able to rebuild quickly, there might be one more title run left in the tank for the face of the franchise.
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