NBA analyst Tim Legler tells the story of 15-year-old Kobe Bryant

Late in the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant was not only one of the greatest NBA players of all time but also rose to prominence as a featured player at a very young age.

Legend has it that Bryant put on some amazing performances as a teenager in invitation-only basketball camps and in private practice against guys who were playing in college or the pros.
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Over the years, many Black Mamba stories have been told highlighting his early talent at a young age or his insane work ethic and dedication.

Tim Legler, an ESPN analyst who also played in the NBA during the 1990s, recently remembered one story of Bryant when he was just 15 years old.

Via Lakers Daily:

Former NBA player Tim Legler gave a memory of his first glimpse of Kobe Bryant on the basketball court, which came when Bryant was just 15 years old.

Legler talked about how casual pick-up games in the Philadelphia area have always had a lot of talent, with Bryant’s performance against the NBA pros capturing his attention.

‘I tied my ankles. ‘I’m going into a game,’ said Legler, and I’m watching the game being played, and there’s this guy over there, and he’s doing really ridiculous sporting things. He was stepping in. Playing against Eddie Jones, I’ll never forget him. He was the All-Star star for the Lakers, and they’re going pretty big, and I literally said to the coach, “Oh, who’s that guy?” I thought he’d say, “Ah, that’s such and such.” He plays in any college,” whatever. He says, “Oh, that’s Kobe Bryant. This is Joe Bryant’s son.” I’m like, “Oh, okay.” I said, “How old is he?” He said, “Oh, he’s 15.”

Jones, of course, would become Bryant’s teammate in the 1996-1997 season. They will spend two years and change as members of the Purple and Gold Team.

As Bryant himself admitted, he did every little thing. He became the youngest player to win a slam dunk contest (he did so as a rookie), and the following year he was the youngest player in All-Star Game history.

He won his first NBA championship at the age of 21, and before he turned 24, he had three consecutive world titles under his belt.

But despite getting his start at a very young age, Bryant had an astonishing longevity, giving the Lakers 20 seasons, five championships and indelible memories.

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