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Jerry West On A Young Kobe Bryant: “We Just Fell In Love With Him. From The Time We Worked Him Out In Los Angeles, And Particularly The Second Time We Worked Him Out… From Then On Was Like, I Love This, How Do We Get This Guy?”

kobe bryant draft jerry west

Today's Hall of Fame ceremony will be mostly focused on Kobe Bryant, his life, his career, and how he went on to become one of the greatest players of all time.

But perhaps, none of his accolades would've been accomplished if it wasn't for Jerry West, the man who took a chance on him straight out of high school and traded Vlade Divac to get him from the Charlotte Hornets.

That's why Jessica Golden of CNBC reached out to the legendary shooting guard to ask him about the draft process and when he knew that Kobe was the right fit for the Lakers, and his response was unsurprising:

“We just fell in love with him. From the time we worked him out in Los Angeles, and particularly the second time we worked him out … from then on was like, I love this, how do we get this guy?” West said. "He was one of the greatest players we've ever seen, but he also was one of the very smartest players we've ever seen."

West went on to develop a close relationship with Bryant, mentoring him early on in his career and keeping in touch with him long after he was out of the organization.

Jerry was clearly affected by Bryant's sudden and tragical passing, and he said that he'll always love him as a brother:

“I’ll remember [Kobe] as someone that I loved like a brother. The playful moments with him, some of the funny things and exchanges we had. Watching him when he first started to what he became,” The Logo added.

West also said that, even though it's going to be nice to see his idol Michael Jordan inducting him into the Hall of Fame, it still won't be the same without the Black Mamba in attendance:

"This will be a historic night to honor an iconic player who is no longer with us, and it just doesn't seem right, to be honest with you. To have his idol there introducing him ... I think we all feel a little bit robbed because of that," concluded West.

Those who were lucky enough to know Kobe knew right away that he was going to be special. So, thanks, West, for gambling on a skinny kid from Lower Merion high school.