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Kobe said he was leaning North Carolina over Duke for college

Aug 16, 2013, 10:57 AM EDT

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

It has long been assumed that if Kobe Bryant had not opted for the NBA and instead headed to college — remember he went pro long before the ridiculous one-and-done rule — that he was headed to Duke. To this day Bryant has a great relationship with and respect for Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Not so fast, Kobe said Thursday night at the “Kobe Up Close Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel” event in Los Angeles, raising money for Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation (which fights homelessness). Here’s the quotes, as reported by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.

Defying the urban legend that he was Duke-bound, had he gone to college instead of the NBA straight out of high school, Bryant said he was leaning toward North Carolina. “I love [Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski],” Bryant said. “The truth has to come out.”

Why North Carolina? Vince Carter, a Tar Heel, was one of the top guards in the country at the time. “I want to play against him, every single day,” Bryant said.

There’s also how Kobe has modeled himself after Michael Jordan who went to North Carolina (and whose private plane is still Carolina blue).

This is all kind of moot, Kobe went pro, Jerry West convinced John Calipari (then the Nets head coach) not to draft him and the Lakers traded Vlade Divac to Charlotte for Kobe in a pre-arranged deal on draft night. The rest is history.

  1. tannethrill - Aug 16, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Obviously Kerry Kittles was the right call for the Nets lol

  2. kb2408 - Aug 16, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    And LAKERS fans are forever grateful to the great Mr. Jerry West! Btw, Vinsanity probably would’ve had to play small forward with Kobe on that team but just imagine those two and Rasheed together. That would’ve been similar to MJ, Perkins and Worthy.

    • l0blunt - Aug 16, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      That wouldn’t have happened all those guys playing together. Wallace & Stackhouse jetted for the NBA once Carter & Jamison signed letters of intent to play ball at UNC.

    • sire2334 - Aug 16, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      Vince never played with Rasheed. It was Antawn Jamison who at that time was even better. People sleep on how great Jamison was in college.

      • kb2408 - Aug 16, 2013 at 1:57 PM

        You are correct, sir. Sheed played with Stackhouse before Vince got there. Still, Kobe..Vince..and Jamison wouldn’t have been too bad either.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        They also had Shammond Williams, who was a pretty good college player in his own right.

  3. ringjames - Aug 16, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    so wait, Kobe claims he wanted to go to a school simply because he wanted to pay Vince Carter? I’m not buying that . the biggest Michael Jordan knockoff , Kobe Bryant , wanted to go to Carolina simply to follow Jordan’s path , what a nut hugger lol

  4. skinsfanwill - Aug 16, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Lakers fans should be thanking Jerry West for handing over Pau Gasol too.

    • themars211 - Aug 16, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      Last time I checked Memphis got back Marc Gasol who has played very well for the Grizzlies. You guys always act like we got Pau for nothing.

      • pcsurfer - Aug 16, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        So true, which is unlike the time McHale traded Garnett to help the Celtics and his buddy Ainge. The Grizzlies made out very well on the deal while the Wolves haven’t even made the playoffs since, but no one talks about that trade.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        They also received Kwame Brown, whose departure helped create the cap space that allowed the Grizzlies to eventually pick up Z-Bo.

        They also received the picks that turned into Darrell Arthur and Greivis Vasquez.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 16, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      Jerry West left the Grizzlies’ organization in April 2007.

      Pau Gasol was traded to the Lakers in February 2008.

      Conspiracy theories are more fun than logic though.

  5. spursareold - Aug 16, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Kobe wanna be like Mike, yet again.

    • kb2408 - Aug 16, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      And was wrong with that? Would you rather he emulate J.R.Rider? Or perhaps Latrelle Sprewell?

      • spursareold - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:25 PM

        Taking a few pieces of a players’ game is fine. Copying 100% of it for your first 8-9 years in the league and never having a move identified as YOURS is not. I guarantee you that when MJ took the mantle from Dr. J, he wasn’t copying his moves to the letter.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 16, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        Kobe had a pretty nice first 8-9 years (minus rookie season where he played/did very little). If I was on the Lakers I wouldn’t care why.

    • kb2408 - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      Dude, that’s just stupid…

  6. money2long - Aug 16, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    had he gone to college, who knows what nba team he’d be playing for when he left. maybe it was destiny he’d become a laker. that jersey just seems perfect on him.

  7. antistratfordian - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Kobe has always excelled at being an original and shunned copying the styles of another, so it’s surprising that he would want to go to Michael Jordan’s alma mater. Next thing you’re going to tell me is that he once tried to get traded to the Chicago Bulls! No one would believe it.

  8. onlyavoice - Aug 16, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    Kobe Is So Full Of Himself It’s Sickening, The Guy Is An AZZ.
    I Sure Hope He Makes A Full Recovery, The Lakers & The NBA Will Be Boring Without Him,
    On & Off The Court.

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