"將要做偉大的事情"為什麼許多人認為有大好前程在等著 Kobe Bryant
Jerry West 看到了其他籃球專家沒有看到的東西。聯盟裡的每個人都被這個有著NBA基因和自信的苗條高中生所吸引。但是KOBE真的能從費城郊區帶領梅裡恩高中的王牌球員到防守喬丹嗎? Jerry West 當時是洛杉磯湖人隊的執行副總裁，也是NBA歷史上最優秀的球員之一。不到半個小時，他就找到了答案。作為1996年選秀前訓練的一部分， KOBE 與最近退役的防守專家邁克爾·庫珀進行了一對一的對抗。總經理提前結束了會議。Jerry West 告訴《時代》雜誌說:“邁克爾看著一個17歲的孩子把他打得落花流水，我感到很尷尬，但我卻樂此不疲。”
Jerry West 在選秀日簽下了 KOBE ，將他與高大的歐尼爾配對，開始了職業體育生涯中最輝煌的時刻之一。在過去的20多個賽季中， KOBE 和湖人一起贏得了5次NBA總冠軍，2次得分王，2次奧運會金牌，1次MVP, 18次入選全明星陣容。不僅僅是防守喬丹， KOBE 還成為了他的接班人，一個得分殺手，他可以通過一個扣籃或者一個難以捉摸的後仰跳投來撕裂防守者的心，這是他獨一無二的運動藝術。他的崛起恰逢社交媒體的發展和籃球在世界各地的普及，這讓 KOBE 成為了籃球運動中第一批真正的全球明星之一。在家鄉，他激勵了像勒布朗·詹姆斯這樣的一代高中新秀，讓他們追隨他從高中進入NBA。....
'He Was Going to Do Great Things.' Why Many Believed the Best Was Ahead of Kobe Bryant
Jerry West saw something the other basketball mavens didn’t. Everyone around the league was intrigued by the slender high school senior with NBA genes and confidence to spare. But could Kobe Bryant really go directly from leading the Lower Merion High School Aces in suburban Philadelphia to guarding Michael Jordan? It took West, then executive vice president of the Los Angeles Lakers and one of the best players in NBA history, less than a half hour to know the answer. As part of a workout ahead of the 1996 draft, Bryant played one-on-one against the recently retired defensive specialist Michael Cooper. The GM ended the session early. “I was embarrassed for Michael to watch a 17-year-old just basically demolish him,” West tells TIME, “and enjoy doing it.”
West acquired Bryant in a draft-day deal, pairing the teenager with the towering Shaquille O’Neal and launching one of the most decorated careers in professional sports. Over 20 seasons–all of them with the Lakers–Bryant won five NBA championships, two scoring titles, a pair of Olympic gold medals, one MVP award and was named to 18 All-Star teams. More than merely guarding Jordan, Bryant emerged as his heir, a scoring assassin who could rip a defender’s heart out by way of a devastating dunk or an elusive fadeaway jump shot from the baseline, his singular work of athletic art. His ascent coincided with the development of social media and basketball’s embrace around the world, which turned Bryant into one of the game’s first truly global stars. Back home, he inspired a generation of high school phenoms like LeBron James to follow his lead from high school to the NBA...."