KEY POINTS

  • Kobe Bryant was supposed to be paired with Allen Iverson in Philadelphia
  • A Sixers scout planned to recruit Bryant to Philly
  • Bryant was obsessed to beat Iverson

Kobe Bryant was supposed to be scouted by the Sixers to pair with Allen Iverson in 1996.

NBA History would have been completely different in the last two decades if Sixers have made one of the biggest move in their franchise during the 1996 NBA Draft. Today, Bryant is considered as one of the greatest Lakers of all time, but a vital statement revealed that he could have been a Philadelphia 76ers icon along with Iverson.

According to Fadeaway World, author Jonathan Abrams revealed in his book, "Boys Among Men: How the Prep-to-Pro Generation Redefined the NBA and Sparked a Basketball Revolution," that the Sixers were very close to pick Kobe in the 1996 NBA draft.

Abrams could have been stating the truth because Philly was Bryant’s hometown. Abrams also wrote that a Sixers scout originally wanted to pair Bryant with Iverson.

“In 1996 Sixers scout Tony DiLeo wanted to draft high schooler Kobe Bryant and discussed trading a young Jerry Stackhouse to pair Iverson and Bryant together,” Abrams wrote.

But in the end, all that didn’t happen and Bryant ended up playing for the Lakers. Los Angeles was the place where he became a total legend but should Abrams claim actualized and he landed in Philly, there is no doubt “Black Mamba” would have been a hometown idol.

Going back to the 1996 NBA Draft, Charlotte Hornets selected Bryant out of Lower Merion High School with the 13th pick. Hornets evidently doubted his abilities and immediately traded the future five-time champ to the Los Angeles Lakers that night.

As opposed to Sixers’ plan for the young Mamba, Bryant became a villain in Philadelphia. Instead, his 2001 NBA Finals nemesis Iverson became a Sixers legend but was never able to win a title for the team.

In his piece for The  Players’ Tribune ,  Bryant revealed how he became obsessed with beating Iverson.  According to the Lakers legend, Iverson’s early success fueled him to become a better player.

Bryant recalled that on November 12th, 1996, Iverson scored 35, while he only recorded two points in five minutes.

“When I checked into my hotel room later that night and saw the 35 on  SportsCenter , I lost it. I flipped the table, threw the chairs, broke the TV,” Bryant wrote.

Another devastating defeat happened when Iverson scored 41 points on him in 1999 in Philadelphia. And this time, Bryant did what would make him a future NBA champ.

“I obsessively read every article and book I could find about AI,” Bryant wrote. “I obsessively watched every game he had played, going back to the IUPU All-American Game. I obsessively studied his every success, and his every struggle. I obsessively searched for any weakness I could find,” Bryant revealed.