Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant allowed a near full capacity crowd at the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles, to get some intricate details on his 17 year NBA journey on Thursday night.
Los Angeles sports anchor icon Jim Hill spoke to the crowd pre-show about his very first encounter with a young 17 year old Kobe Bryant in Long Beach. Hill spoke that he knew then "that this kid would be special to the city".
Finally as Kobe took the stage and was well received with a lot of cheers and chants of MVP.
When asked by Kimmel about the comments made by former Laker great and Dodger co-owner Magic Johnson, about Kobe being the greatest Laker. Bryant responded that he couldn't accept that compliment because he grew up watching Johnson as a kid.
Bryant also shared a interesting never before revealed story on how he was drafted. A photo of him in a Celtics t-shirt was shown as the crowd booed the photo. However Bryant reeled the crowd back in by saying that they worked him out before the 1996 NBA draft, and all he wanted to do was beat Dennis Johnson in workouts.
The Clippers also worked out Bryant, but was told they wouldn't draft him because they were seeking a new direction. And they didn't think that Los Angeles was ready for a 17 year old to lead their franchise.
Between a few humorous moments between Kimmel and Bryant, it was confirmed that Bryant would be a Laker for life. Bryant also revealed that the constant talk of trading his good friend and teammate Pau Gasol disgust him.
He also revealed the times with him and former teammate Shaquille O'Neal. He and O'Neal won three titles together, said that it didn't bother him that everyone was saying he couldn't win without Shaq, but that Shaq himself was saying that. On a happier note, Shaq and Gary Peyton were the two funniest guys he'd ever played with.
Bryant revealed that playing against Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant were/are tough to guard, but ultimately it was Tracy McGrady who the most difficult to guard. Interesting how Lebron James was never mentioned in that category.
And of course the night couldn't gone off with a Dwight Howard question. Kobe simply said that Dwight was a good kid, that they had different styles of winning. Also reminded everyone that he has no filter so he's going to say whatever he needs to say and that he's sincere about Dwight's success.
Bryant talked about the trade that almost happened between CP3 and the Lakers. Bryant told the story of how CP3 contacted him about coming and then 30 minutes later called Bryant pissed off that the trade was nixed. Kimmel boldly asked Bryant should CP3 be a Laker right now?
"legally speaking...yes, David Stern speaking....no," said Bryant.
Bryant also said he learned the most from NBA icon Michael Jordan and the two still have a very close relationship to this day.
Kobe will tremendously miss Metta World Peace from the Laker locker room. And if there was a player that he would bring back to the Lakers, it would be Derek Fisher. Bryant explained that they went to battled and won championships together.
Bryant also discussed that he almost decided to go to North Carolina instead of Duke if he went to college, instead of joining the NBA.
As far as the younger players he keeps his eyes on, Bryant is totally impressed with Rusell Westbrook, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and current teammate Nick Young.
It was a great night, and a great atmosphere for one of the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball. On a strong mission for a sixth title, Kobe may not be ready by opening night, however I assure you that he will be ready.