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Kobe Bryant takes over 1995 high school playoff game (Video)

Kobe-Bryant-high-schoolAny NBA fan has seen highlights of Kobe Bryant taking over a game. The five-time NBA champion scored 81 points in a single game once, and he has scored 50 or more in a game 25 times in his career. But have you ever seen Kobe dominate in high school? We have you covered.

In 1995, Kobe put Lower Merion High School on his back during a state tournament game against Norristown. Bryant, who wore No. 33 as a teenager, knocked down three 3-pointers in the third quarter and rallied his team back to tie the game heading into the fourth. He then completely took over.

Kobe hit shots from inside the paint and beyond the arc en route to 18 points in the fourth quarter alone. He finished with 35 points (just 6 in the first half) and 12 rebounds to send Lower Merion to the semifinals.

“We came out in the second half and were like, ‘This is our half. We’re not gonna lose this,’” a young Kobe said after the win. “I sort of felt a personal challenge because I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself … There was no way I was going down without a fight. I put my best on the floor.”

Different year, same Kobe.

Andrew Wiggins: Kobe Bryant is closest thing to Michael Jordan

Andrew-WigginsAndrew Wiggins has a ton of respect for Kobe Bryant’s game and compares him to the player he considers to be the greatest ever: Michael Jordan. Wiggins even wants to challenge the Lakers superstar 1-on-1 more than any other player in the NBA.

In a 2013 interview with ESNews that took place before he even began his college career at Kansas, Wiggins was asked which NBA great he’d play 1-on-1 if he had his choice. He named Kobe.

“I’d want to face Kobe because he’s the closest thing to the greatest ever. I think Michael Jordan’s the greatest ever, but Kobe’s second to Michael Jordan, and I want to see where I stand.”

Wiggins also said in the interview, “I’m a big fan,” of Kobe Bryant.

Wiggins was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers and is expected to head to Minnesota as part of a Kevin Love trade. In this particular interview, he mentioned the Toronto Raptors as a team he’d like to be drafted by. If he still feels strongly about Toronto, keep that in mind for when he becomes a free agent.

Also keep this interview in mind when it comes time for Wiggins to face Bryant. Based on his words, you know he’ll be bringing his A-game.

(Note: A previous version of this post contained a supposed quote from Kobe saying the Wiggins trade would be like the Hornets trading him to the Lakers. That appears to be a fabricated quote.)

Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan really do have identical moves (Video)

Kobe Bryant Michael JordanFor those of you who aren’t convinced that Kobe Bryant modeled his game after Michael Jordan, this is Exhibit A. The third edition of the “Identical Plays” videos that were created by Youseff Hannoun was released earlier this week, and the results are just as jaw-dropping.

Granted, a lot of the plays we saw from both Michael and Kobe are typical of swingmen-type players. If you searched hard enough, you could find a clip of Kevin Durant hitting a step-back jumper the same way Jordan did. But the mannerisms — finger wagging, tongue wagging, etc. — from Kobe are what stand out.

Hey, Kobe freely admitted he stole some of his moves from Jordan. That’s the main reason Jordan has joked that he might not be able to take Kobe in a game of one-on-one. Both players are legends in their own right.

Jamal Crawford introduces Kobe Bryant as this generation’s Michael Jordan (Video)

Is Kobe Bryant this generation’s Michael Jordan? Jamal Crawford certainly thinks so.

Kobe Michael JordanKobe was in Seattle for the weekend for a few different events, including the Seattle Basketball Pro-Am. All proceeds from the Pro-Am go to the Jamal Crawford Foundation, where Jamal has been a fixture since he was a teenager. You could tell that Crawford was excited to have Kobe in attendance, because he was all jacked up and gave Kobe a nice introduction, calling him “this generation’s Michael Jordan.”

Though the comparison to Michael Jordan will probably rankle some people, and the merits of whether or not there is such a thing as another Michael Jordan are debatable, Kobe is probably the closest thing to a generation’s Michael Jordan.

Kobe is a 16-time All-Star, 5-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP and two-time scoring champion. Jordan won six titles, six Finals MVPs, five regular season MVPs, was a 10-time scoring champion and 14-time All-Star.

Few players can stack up with Michael Jordan, but Kobe is probably the closest to him from our generation.

And if Kobe’s weekend in Seattle is any indication, he might even be as good at baseball as MJ. Did you see the home run he hit at Richard Sherman’s celebrity softball game at Safeco Field?

Pau Gasol: It was difficult telling Kobe Bryant I was leaving

Kobe Bryant Pau GasolPau Gasol chose to leave the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency to sign with the Chicago Bulls, and he says one of the toughest parts was informing close friend Kobe Bryant about his decision.

Kobe and Pau have been teammates since Gasol was traded from the Grizzlies to the Lakers in 2008. Pau became a three-time All-Star with the Lakers and won two championships with the team. The two were leaders on the squad, and every time Pau was mentioned in trade talks, Kobe was there to back and support him.

But this was Pau’s first time as a free agent, and the allure of playing for a more competitive team and different organization was too much, so he signed with the Bulls — even though he would have made more with the Lakers.

Telling Kobe about the decision was tough for him.

“It was difficult. We have a close friendship,” Gasol said Friday via ESPN. “We’ve been through a lot together, and I’m sure I will miss him. But we talked to each other and our relationship goes beyond basketball and we’ll always have a friendship.

“It was difficult to talk to him, but he was very supportive and he understood. He just said I had to do what was best for me and what felt right for me and he was going to support me no matter what. That’s what friends and brothers do, and that’s what we are.”

You might have some questions about whether or not Kobe would be supportive of a friend leaving him, but it says a lot about their friendship that Kobe understood. Heck, how could anyone blame Pau for finally leaving? The Lakers shopped him year-in and year-out the last several seasons. Why wouldn’t he want to test the market and see what other franchises have to offer?

Chest bump to Pro Basketball Talk

Kobe Bryant flies back from Europe vacation to meet with Carmelo Anthony

Kobe-Bryant-Carmelo-AnthonyCarmelo Anthony will continue his free agency tour on Thursday by visiting with the Los Angeles Lakers. No pitch to a superstar free agent would be complete for the Lakers without their five-time NBA champion and 16-time All-Star. That’s why Kobe Bryant reportedly flew back to LA from a European vacation late Wednesday night.

As ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne noted, Bryant and Anthony are close friends. Kobe has been courting Carmelo for quite a while, but he still felt he should be present when the team officially meets with the 30-year-old. While the Lakers — like all other teams — have reportedly made LeBron James their No. 1 target, it sounds like Melo can hardly be called Plan B.

Anthony is far from a consolation prize, however. Sources indicate the Lakers are enamored with his game and believe he would complement Bryant well. The Lakers hope to pair the two wings with center Pau Gasol, with whom they met on the first day of free agency.

Gasol has already indicated that the Lakers will have to make some significant changes in order for him to re-sign with the team, and I’m sure signing someone like Anthony and bringing in a new head coach would be enough to persuade him.

The Lakers are said to have delayed their coaching search so that free agents like Anthony or LeBron could pick their head coach if they decided to sign with LA.

While having Kobe fly in to state his case is probably flattering, Anthony has to decide if the Lakers give him the best chance of capturing his first NBA title. Kobe is 35 and has suffered significant injuries in each of the past two seasons. Gasol will turn 34 on Sunday and hasn’t exactly been a model of health, either.

If Anthony is going to leave New York (and it doesn’t sound like he is), you would think the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets would be far more appealing.

Kobe Bryant thanks Hornets for trading him to Lakers

Prior to putting on the purple & gold of the Los Angeles Lakers, and winning five NBA championships and an MVP Award, Kobe Bryant was a member of the Charlotte Hornets, briefly.

After being selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 Draft by the Hornets, Bryant was famously traded to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. And the rest is history.

18 years later, Bryant took the opportunity to thank the Hornets for the trade that sent to him L.A. by posting the above collage on his Instagram account with the following caption:

“On this day 18yrs ago the hornets told me right after they drafted me that they had no use for me and were going to trade me. #thanku #Believe #usmnt #lakers #jwest #drbuss #letsGo #USA”

The Mamba never forgets.