The Blue Devils had won consecutive national championships in 1991 and 1992, but that was not enough to convince Bryant to not make the jump to the NBA.
During his special, “Kobe Up Close”, Bryant finally reveals he would have chosen the 1993 national champion, North Carolina Tar Heels:
“If I had to make a decision I probably would have went to Carolina because of the competition. The year before, Vince Carter had played for Carolina and was the best guard in the country and I wanted to test myself against him and play against him every day in practice”
Not only did he not pick Duke, but he decided on their arch nemesis, the Tar Heels. Vince Carter was the determining factor for Bryant, he wanted to face the best guard in the country, and Bryant would benefit from facing Carter on a daily basis.
Coach Dean Smith already had an impressive team, which reached the 1997 and 1998 Final Four, but the addition of Bryant would have pushed them over the hump, and could have ultimately led them to a national championship.
Bryant has always been considered the heir apparent to Michael Jordan’s throne, and if he would have attended North Carolina, the comparisons would have intensified. Luckily for Lakers Nation, Kobe decided to declare for the NBA draft, and the rest is history.
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