It was classic Kobe Bryant. He was asked about averaging 25 points per game during summer league play.
"I could have played a lot better," he said. "But I felt comfortable out there. I felt like one of the guys."
Bryant has never been just one of the guys. He's been a dominating force in the NBA ever since graduating from Lower Merion (Ardmore, Pa.)
That was 16 years ago.
And that's when this fresh, rarely-if-ever-seen video was shot.
MaxPreps has acquired rare videos and interviews taken over the last
two decades of NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball greats, back when
they starred in high school. The series – appropriately enough – is
called "Way Back When."
In this segment, Bryant talks about
playing against Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson for the first time, and
joining Shaquille O'Neal on the Lakers. His biggest worry in the 1996
NBA Draft was not to trip in front of David Stern.
He also had just appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" for the first time and met Michael Keaton, then an "A-list" actor.
most surprising aspect about the video is just how grown-up
Bryant appears in 1996. Perhaps because he's sporting a dapper black
beret, which hides his hairline, Bryant looks almost identical to today.
He's aged very well over 16 years.
The same could be said for his game.