Throwback Thursday: Lakers Trade For Kobe Bryant on Draft Day 1996 Reviewed by Momizat on . Following the 1995-96 season, the Lakers were in a difficult place. Despite winning 53 games and securing the fourth seed in the Western Conference, the Lakers Following the 1995-96 season, the Lakers were in a difficult place. Despite winning 53 games and securing the fourth seed in the Western Conference, the Lakers Rating: 0
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Throwback Thursday: Lakers Trade For Kobe Bryant on Draft Day 1996

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kobebryant1996Following the 1995-96 season, the Lakers were in a difficult place. Despite winning 53 games and securing the fourth seed in the Western Conference, the Lakers were bounced in the first round by the Hakeem Olajuwon and the defending champion Houston Rockets.

Additionally, despite having six players averaging double figures in points, the Lakers lacked that true superstar to really carry the team. That all changed in the summer of 1996. The Lakers made two major moves that summer. In July, they signed center Shaquille O’Neal to a deven year, $120 million deal. The first move they made, garnered much less fanfare, but would have an even longer lasting impact.

The Lakers agreed to a pre-draft trade with the then Charlotte Hornets in which the Hornets would draft Bryant with the 13th pick, and trade him to the Lakers for center Vlade Divac. The move would turn out to be one of the biggest trades in the history of the NBA.

The Hornets were in need of a center after trading away star center Alonzo Mourning to the Miami Heat so the move made sense on both ends. And no one could have envisioned Bryant becoming the transcendent superstar that he would eventually become. No one except the great Jerry West that is.

After witnessing Bryant workout against some Lakers players, West was sold on the high school phenom and he made it a point to get him on the Lakers. Bryant and O’Neal would go on to form one of the most unstoppable duos in the history of the NBA, and the early 2000s Lakers became one of only three teams to win three straight championships.

Bryant would go on to bring five total championships to Los Angeles on his way to becoming the Lakers all-time leader in games, minutes, points, steals, field goals, three pointers, and free throws.

Bryant is one of, if not, the greatest players most of us will ever see in our lifetime. On this Throwback Thursday, we remember the Lakers trading for Kobe Bryant in 1996.

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About The Author

Corey is currently a full-time staff writer for Lakers Nation. He is a passionate follower of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Cowboys and can usually be seen arguing the merits of Kobe Bryant or cursing the decisions of Jerry Jones. He is also a former producer and associate producer for Sirius XM Sports Radio. Follow him on twitter @TheeCoreyH

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  • Paytc

    “Bryant is one of,if not,the greatest players most of us will see in our lifetime.”

    I agree with that !

    That is why I have so adamantly stood up for him. We should all show a level of appreciation for such a high level -hard working warrior.

    It’s hard to play at the level Kobe has in the NBA for 3 years, now try 20(on one team). And not be a league favorite like Jordan was,or Lebron now is.

    So many outside of the NBA love him. So many inside the NBA despise him.
    But most respect him.

    Kobe is a odds defier not a limits complier.

    Kobe keep pushing to be your best !

    • f

      i don’t see why he deserves 24 m he has already gotten an average of 25 m from 2008-2014 (a 7 year stretch) in which he has won 2 rings and gotten to the finals once.

      And remember none of that was close to happening until gasol came along yet kobe’s getting way more than gasol.

      also kobe’s level has been declining since 2010 so evidence thus far shows he’ll need help to win yet his salary is so high.

      • vdogg

        are you serious? statistically, kobe had a phenomenal season last year… better than jordan at the same age, even, if you look at the numbers. besides, do you know how much money kobe makes the lakers? he has probably made them hundreds of millions over his career.

        • f

          i think his defense was pretty low last year compared to what it’s been in the past(doesn’t show up on the stat sheet if your man is making more baskets due to your lack of defense, except generally in plus/minus category long term….). Can also be missed in the game whose man got open first since screens and passes and helping defense can obscure/make forget where the initial openings or major mistakes happened on defense. Kobe also had career high turnovers since 05.

          analysts/announcers like mike trudell kept saying how the laker’s defensive rating was at the bottom part of the league and how it dropped a lot when howard wasn’t in the game.

        • Paytc

          Obviously it’s a waste of time to talk to some people especially when they are more out to knock down our teams best player. Love it or hate it Kobe got his and will continue to exceed expectations. Go Kobe ! Go Lakers !

  • vdogg

    without that trade, the lakers would have 5 less titles than they currently do. west said that he immediately knew bryant would be a star in the league. some thought he was crazy for doing the deal with charlotte. what a blessing it’s been to have kobe be a laker for nearly two decades now. his talent, drive and work ethic are all second to none. a lot of guys relax when they get to the NBA, because they find themselves with fat million dollar contracts. kobe continually worked to add things to his game and that’s why he has outlasted the likes of AI, tmac, vince carter and others as far as staying elite. the lakers and their fans are truly lucky to have bryant. what a trade!

  • lakersfan4life

    wow “deven year” really? simple proofreading could have caught that

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