Kobe Bryant’s career as a professional basketball comes to an end tonight. The 37-year-old five-time NBA champion will play his final game with the Los Angeles Lakers. They’re set to face the Utah Jazz at STAPLES Center.
— STAPLES Center (@STAPLESCenter) April 13, 2016
We didn’t get Kobe Bryant, college basketball player, but what if we did? Where would he have gone?
It was long believed that Bryant would’ve attended Duke and played for Coach K – like he did twice in the Olympics – but that’s not true.
During “Kobe Up Close,” a special one-on-on conversation between Bryant and Jimmy Kimmel in 2013, the star guard revealed he would have played for Dean Smith at North Carolina.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Defying 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.
Bryant would’ve been at North Carolina for (at least) the 1996-97 season. He would’ve been on a Tar Heels’ team that also featured Carter, Antawn Jamison and Ed Cota, among other players.
That UNC team lost in the Final Four to Arizona.