-------Provided by Kobe-8-CJB.NET-----------
Kobe Bryant, the son of former NBA player Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, jumped directly from high school to the pros in 1996 and enjoyed an impressive rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning the Nestle Crunch Slam Dunk and leading all scorers in the Schick Rookie Game during All-Star Weekend. In his second season he was voted a starter for the 1998 All-Star Game, becoming at 19 the youngest All-Star in NBA history. To top it off, he led the West team in scoring with 18 points. In 1998-99, his third season, he averaged nearly 20 points per game and was among the Lakers' leaders in virtually every statistical category, solidifying his status as one of the game's most exciting young stars. Bryant was the all-time leading scorer in Southeastern Pennsylvania schoolboy history with 2,883 points, breaking the marks of NBA legend and Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain (2,359 points) and former St. Joseph's player Carlin Warley (2,441 points). Bryant led his high school team to a 77-13 record in his last three seasons and was a four-year starter. His father, Joe, played eight NBA seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers and Houston Rockets, and is a former assistant coach at La Salle. As a senior at Lower Merion High School, Bryant was selected by USA Today and Parade Magazine as the National High School Player of the Year. He was also named Naismith Player of the Year, Gatorade Circle of Champions High School Player of the Year and to the McDonald's All-America Team. Bryant averaged 30.8 ppg, 12 rpg, 6.5 apg, four spg and 3.8 bpg. He led Lower Merion to Class AAAA state title with a 31-3 record. Bryant scored a career-high 50 points vs. Marple Newtow and scored 34 points to go along with 15 rebounds, six assists and nine blocks to lead Lower Merion to District I Class AAA title over Chester. He scored 117 points and was named Most Outstanding Player in Prestigious Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Lakers wanted Bryant but were drafting late, so they swung a deal with the Charlotte Hornets whereby Charlotte selected him with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft, then dealt him to Los Angeles in exchange for center Vlade Divac. Despite his youth and lack of college experience, Bryant was a significant contributor as the Lakers won 56 games in 1996-97. He scored in double figures 25 times, including a streak of seven within 10 games late in the season. He also grabbed the spotlight at the All-Star Weekend by winning the Nestle Crunch Slam Dunk and leading all players with an event-record 31 points in the Schick Rookie Classic. Bryant blossomed as the Lakers' sixth man in his second pro season, averaging 15.4 ppg, scoring in double figures in 65 of his 79 games and being voted by the fans as a starter in the 1998 All-Star Game, where he led the Western Conference with 18 points. At 19 years, 5 months, he became the youngest All-Star in history, replacing Magic Johnson, who was 20 years, 5 months old when he played in the 1980 game. He was the only Laker to start all 50 games in 1998-99 and averaged 19.9 ppg, second on the team. He led the club in steals and was among the top three in rebounds, assists and blocked shots as well.
Selected to the 1999-2000 All-NBA Second Team Named to the 1999-2000 NBA All-Interview Second Team Selected to the 1999-2000 NBA All-Defensive First Team Named the NBA Player of the Week (4/10 - 4/16), averaging 29.7 points, 7.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds Tallied 33 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in a 106-103 OT win over Seattle on 4/10 Registered 24 points and 14 rebounds in a 90-89 win at Sacramento on 3/26 Recorded 28 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds in a 109-101 win over Phoenix on 3/24 Posted a career-high 40 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 8 assists in a 109-106 win over Sacramento on 3/12 Tallied 30 points in a 109-92 win at Golden State on 3/9 Scored 31 points in a 101-85 win over Houston on 2/27 Netted 15 points as a starter in the 2000 NBA All-Star Game Totaled 25 points and 13 rebounds in a 95-86 win over Cleveland on 1/19 Scored 30 points (27 in the first half) in a 130-95 win over Denver on 1/10 Posted 31 points in a 110-100 win in Seattle on 1/8 Notched 26 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in a 118-101 win over the Clippers on 1/5 Recorded 28 points, 12 assists and 7 boards in a 97-88 win in Minnesota on 12/17 Registered 30 points and 7 rebounds in a 95-88 win in Atlanta on 12/16 Tallied 19 points and 6 rebounds in his first game after coming off the injured list on 12/1 Activated from the injured list on 12/1, after missing first 15 games of the season with a fracture of fourth metacarpal in his right hand
Named to the 1998-99 All-NBA Third Team after leading the Lakers in steals (1.44 spg) and ranking 2nd on the team in scoring (19.9 ppg, 15th in the NBA) and free-throw percentage (.839, 20th) Logged 9 double-doubles and led the Lakers in scoring in 11 games Scored 19 of his 28 points in the 3rd quarter, adding 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocked shots, in a 91-84 win over the Seattle SuperSonics on 5/2 Registered 25 points, a game-high 9 assists and 5 rebounds against the Seattle SuperSonics on 4/11 Recorded a game-high 29 points (11-20 FG, 7-8 FT), 5 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists in a 99-91 win over the New York Knicks on 3/28 Scored 33 of his career-high 38 points (15-24 FG) in the 2nd half, adding 4 assists and 3 rebounds, in a 113-104 victory over the Orlando Magic on 3/21 Scored 9 straight points in the 3rd quarter, totaling a game-high 32 points (11-19 FG, 10-12 FT), 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocked shots, in a 101-95 win over the Phoenix Suns on 3/3 Posted 26 points and career-highs of 13 rebounds and 9 assists against the Denver Nuggets on 2/22 Registered 23 points and a career-high 13 rebounds against the Seattle SuperSonics on 2/21 Notched 5 consecutive double-doubles to open the season, averaging 21.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.40 spg and 1.60 bpg, from 2/5 to 2/11
Scored 25 points and added 3 assists in a 102-98 victory over the Utah Jazz on 4/19 Posted 20 points (7-11 FG) and 4 rebounds in a 117-105 victory over the New Jersey Nets on 4/2 Registered 23 points (8-12 FG, 5-5 FT), 3 rebounds and 3 assists in a 107-86 victory over the Denver Nuggets on 3/23 Recorded 21 points (7-10 FG, 7-8 FT), a team-high 7 assists and 4 rebounds in a 131-92 win over the Denver Nuggets on 2/19 Made his first start of the season, totaling 17 points and 4 rebounds, against the Portland Trail Blazers on 2/10 Posted a team-high 18 points and 6 rebounds, becoming the youngest All-Star in NBA history, in the 1998 NBA All-Star Game in New York Teamed with Lisa Leslie of the WNBA's L.A. Sparks in the inaugural Nestle Crunch All-Star 2ball during All-Star Saturday Registered 26 points (6-10 FG, 13-13 FT), 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals in a 122-115 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on 2/4 Recorded 22 points, a career-high 7 assists and 3 rebounds in a 121-114 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on 1/30 Totaled 26 points and 5 rebounds against the New Jersey Nets on 1/28 Posted 25 points (7-12 FG, 3-4 3FG, 8-10 FT), 5 rebounds and 3 assists in a 119-109 win over the Phoenix Suns on 1/21 Registered 21 points (6-9 FG, 8-9 FT) and 5 rebounds in a 108-99 victory over the Miami Heat on 1/17 Scored a career-high 33 points, hitting 3-of-5 three-pointers, and grabbed 3 rebounds against the Chicago Bulls on 12/17 Recorded a game-high 30 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in a 119-89 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on 12/14 Totaled 27 points (8-15 FG, 2-4 3FG, 9-10 FT) and 5 rebounds in a 119-102 win over the Houston Rockets on 12/12 Posted 24 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in a 119-102 victory over the L.A. Clippers on 11/23 Registered 25 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in a 132-97 victory over the Golden State Warriors on 11/9 Recorded 23 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds in a 104-87 victory over the Utah Jazz on 10/31
Playing at shooting guard, point guard and small forward, Bryant appeared in 71 games as a rookie, including six starts, and averaged 7.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 15.5 minutes. He averaged 11.3 ppg in the last 13 games of the seaon and 12.4 ppg in the 26 games in which he played 20+ minutes. He was chosen to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. Bryant scored a career-high 24 points, shooting 9-for-11 from the field, in a 109-85 win at Golden State on April 8. The 24 points were the most by a Laker reserve all season. He scored in double figures 25 times and four times had 20+ points. He ranked third on the team in free throw percentage at .819, fourth in three-pointers with 51 and fifth in three-point percentage at .375. He became the youngest player to ever start an NBA game on January 28 at Dallas, when he was 18 years, five months, five days. He's the second-youngest player in NBA history, behind Portland's Jermaine O'Neal. Bryant was one of the stars of the All-Star Weekend. He led all scorers in the Schick Rookie Game with an event-record 31 points, then came back to become the first Laker ever to win the Nestle Crunch Slam Dunk later that night, posting a score of 49 out of a possible 50 in the final round. Bryant appeared in all nine of the Lakers' playoff games in a reserve role, ranking fifth on the club in scoring at 8.2 ppg. He scored 22 points in Game 3 of the First Round against Portland and 19 in Game 3 of the Conference Semifinals against Utah. Broke Wilt Chamberlain's 40-year Southeastern PA high-school scoring record of 2,359 points, with 2,883. Became the youngest player to ever start an All-Star game in 1998 when he was selected as a memeber of the Western Conference squad. Became the youngest player to ever start a NBA game on 1/28/97 against Dallas. He was USA Today's High School Player of the Year in '96. The NBA Slam Dunk Champion and Rookie All-Star MVP in '97.
-------Provided by Kobe-8-CJB.NET-----------