The Los Angeles Lakers have been fortunate to have a plethora of superstars on their roster over the years, but perhaps none shone quite as bright as Kobe Bryant. After two decades in purple and gold, Bryant retired at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season, thrilling the fans one final time with an unforgettable 60-point explosion in his final NBA game.
Bryant grew up around the game of basketball thanks to his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, who played professionally both in the NBA and overseas.
The elder Bryant recognized his son’s basketball talent early on, and in an interview with Respect Magazine’s Brandon Robinson, explained why it’s so important that young players end up in quality organizations:
“As a fan, just watching him play and putting up all those points and playing at such a high level at such a great organization like the Lakers. I think that’s probably one of the important things…These kids come out of school and they worry about being a number one pick, number two pick, I think it’s more important that you get with the right organization and Kobe was able to do that and as you see, playing with one organization is really something special.”
The notion that players should be more concerned about the team they go to than their draft position is one that has become more commonly accepted over the years. While a player can stand to make more money initially as a higher pick, in the long run, going to an organization that will help them blossom into the best player possible is far more valuable.
For Bryant, when the Lakers completed a trade with the Charlotte Hornets in order to land him, he wound up with a team that could offer him both the guidance and mentorship that he needed in addition to a spotlight in which he would eventually become a star.