Although the player had to take a three-year hiatus, Kobe was still able to make an impact on his first game back in 2017. He scored 24 points and dominated against the G League.

Kobe Bryant was already crushing the spirits of defenders in his summer league debut. “He was a kid and I was a man, but he was better,” said one player who faced him. Read more in detail here: sportscasting.

With the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant had a difficult debut season. Unsurprisingly, the 18-year-self-assurance old’s surpassed his ability to compete against NBA veterans. We all know what Kobe Bean has become twenty-five years later, but back in 1996, The Mamba was arguably the only person on the globe who knew what would happen.

Even so, there were hints. Bryant may not have played many minutes or averaged 25 points per game in his first season, but he certainly made an impression at the NBA Summer League.

During his debut season, Kobe Bryant struggled.


It gets lost in the process — rightly so — but Kobe’s first season was hardly a smash hit. Allen Iverson was the first overall choice in the 1996 NBA Draft and was named Rookie of the Year that season.

AI, Stephon Marbury, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Marcus Camby, and Antoine Walker were named to the first-team all-rookie team in 1996.

Along with Ray Allen, Kerry Kittles, Travis Knight, and Matt Maloney, Bryant was chosen to the second-team all-rookie team.

As an 18-year-old, the Lower Merion graduate averaged just 7.6 points in 15.5 minutes each night. He shot 41.7 percent from the field and took less than six shots each game on average (that sure changed).

There were hints of what might have been, but Kobe couldn’t put it all together straight away in the regular season.

But, even before the start of the regular season — even before his first formal training camp with the Lakers — Bryant put on a display that made some who passed on him in the selection reconsider.

For NBA defenders, Kobe’s first summer league was a gloomy omen.

Former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant during the 2010 NBA Finals. On June 17, 2010, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers plays in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. Getty Images/Ronald Martinez

There was a lot of buzz about this young guard who had the audacity to believe he could play in the NBA after just playing against high school kids for a season.

While some were intrigued, some were ecstatic, the other players vying for a spot on the 1996 NBA Summer League team were ready to jump on Bryant and teach him what real basketball was all about.

During his first three exhibition games, Kobe scored 27, 22, and 15 points. Then he faced the Phoenix Suns’ summer league team, and everything changed.

On 9-of-22 shooting, the future Hall of Famer scored 36 points. He could go to the free-throw line whenever he wanted, making 17 of his 21 tries. Bryant’s “see this” game wasn’t a true NBA game; he wasn’t up against Michael Jordan, and he wasn’t surrounded by Shaquille O’Neal.

On the Phoenix summer league club, Brian Green was a guard. He was a two-year starter at Nevada, and although he wasn’t a potential All-Pro, he had a lot more high-level experience than Kobe. Green thought he had something to teach the boy, according to Jeff Pearlman’s book Three Ring Circus.

However, things did not go as Green had hoped.

“You believe you are deserving of some of the admiration that the youngster is receiving.” So, did I want to show him who I was and what I was all about? Yes, I did it.

“I’ve only faced a few of opponents that made me say, ‘Damn, that guy’s simply superior.’ But that’s how I felt at the time. He was 18 years old and had excellent placement, footwork, and body control. He was a child, and I was an adult, yet he was the better of the two. Simply said, it’s better.

“I despised the fact that I couldn’t stop him.”

Suns player Brian Green discusses meeting Kobe Bryant in the NBA Summer League for the first time.

That summer, Green was far from the only guy who couldn’t stop Bryant. Many more defenders endured his misery over the following two decades.

Bryant went on to annihilate a slew of rim guards throughout the course of his 20-year career.


Kobe began to become Kobe during his second season in the league. He got his first of five NBA championship rings by his fifth year.

He went on to score 33,643 points in his NBA career, which ranks him fourth all-time. He was nominated to 18 All-Star teams, 15 All-NBA teams, and 12 All-Defensive teams after winning two scoring crowns.

Simply said, Bryant established himself as an NBA great.

When he initially came into the league, he was far from a lock. But it didn’t take him long to demonstrate who he really was. Brian Green can attest to this.

Basketball Reference provided all statistics.

RELATED: Allen Iverson Described the Moment He Realized Kobe Bryant Wasn’t Like Everyone Else: ‘The Mamba Wasn’t a Myth, Man,’ says the narrator.

The post Kobe Bryant Crushed Defenders’ Spirits in His Summer League Debut: ‘He Was a Kid and I Was a Man, but He Was Better’ first appeared on Sportscasting – Pure Sports.

Kobe Bryant was already crushing the spirits of defenders in his Summer League debut. “He was a kid and I was a man, but he was better,” said Lakers coach Luke Walton. Reference: where did kobe bryant grow up.

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