Kobe Bryant is one of those few stars that made the jump to the NBA straight from high school. Luckily for him, he was selected 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets (and promptly traded to the Los Angeles Lakers) in the 1996 NBA Draft, making him the first guard ever drafted directly out of high school.
Now that Kobe is retired after having a tremendous career, we finally learned why he decided to skip college and go straight to the NBA. According to former Lakers John Salley, the only reason why Bryant decided to go directly to the association was to match up against none other than Michael Jordan before MJ retired from the game.
He mentioned that famous game where Kobe dropped 55 on Jordan and his Washington Wizards after the 6-time NBA champion trash talked the Lakers legend during an early-season matchup. After that, he told the story that Kobe himself told him about his desire to face Jordan on the court.
Kobe made it to the league during Jordan’s famous second three-peat with the Chicago Bulls. The following season, Michael called it quits for a second time before coming back once again three years later. In the end, Kobe was actually able to play against Jordan for four seasons, with MJ proving that he still had something left in the tank.
Out of all the decisions Kobe made during his career, this definitely has to be one of the best.