Video: Kobe Bryant’s first-ever Lakers buzzer-beater happened vs. Hornets
You don’t need to be an expert in bar trivia to know that Bryant was actually drafted by the Charlotte Hornets back in 1996, but was then dealt to the Lakers for big man Vlade Divac after he refused to play for any team but the Lakers.
Bryant then went on to hit the first buzzer-beater of his career against the Hornets back in 2002:
Talk about adding insult to injury.
For many people, that version of Bryant is the one they most fondly remember: early 2000s, No. 8, afro and all.
Of course, that 2001-02 campaign resulted in the final championship of the Lakers’ three-peat, where Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal dominated the NBA in a fashion that we have not seen since (the Golden State Warriors could three-peat this year).
Bryant went on to spend his entire 20-year NBA career with the Lakers, winning five titles and earning an MVP award along the way. He also nabbed a pair of scoring titles in 2006 and 2007.
Now 40 years old, the Philadelphia native last appeared in an NBA game in 2016, famously scoring 60 points in the regular-season finale against the Utah Jazz.
Bryant made 18 All-Star appearances throughout his illustrious career and boasts career averages of 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
All the Hornets can really do is wonder what could have been, as they watched Bryant dominate the NBA for nearly two decades while they struggled to even make the playoffs.