John Calipari, head coach at Kentucky, recently reflected back on the 1996 NBA draft when he was the head coach of the New Jersey Nets.
Arn Tellem, Kobe’s agent at that time, had Kobe working out for New Jersey, who had the 8th overall pick
“I worked him out three times and I thought I was losing my mind. Obviously I wasn’t. He was really good. I’d brought him in a third time because I just said, ‘I’ve got to see this kid again because this is ridiculous.” Calipari said.
However, Bryant also got a chance to work out for the Lakers. As it is commonly known, Lakers GM at the time, Jerry West was completely blown away. However, West knew that Kobe would not fall to the 24th pick, so he begin talking with other teams to trade up in the draft.
According to the Yahoo Sports article, Kobe’s agent was (more) interested in the Lakers, “Better franchise, bigger market, and more Adidas flying off the shelves”
“Everybody knows that I was talked out of [it],” Calipari said.“Arn [wanted the Nets to draft him] until he knew he could get him to the Lakers,” Calipari said. “Then he was against it. Arn was all over me, and then all of a sudden [I] get the call the day before the draft.”
As history shows, the Nets picked Kerry Kittles, the senior out of Villanova, and the Lakers traded center Vlade Divac to the Hornets for the 13th pick, (Kobe Bryant).
Kittles only played 8 seasons in the NBA, hampered by knee injuries. He had career averages of 15.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assist.
Bryant has won 5 championships, is considered the best player in his generation, and well you know the rest .
Original Article: http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/news?slug=dw-wetzel_game_changing_decision_032411