NBA Author Details Why Nets Chickened Out Drafting Kobe Bryant in 1996


Jeff Pearlman: “It’s ALL John Calipari’s fault.”

Listen to New York Times author Jeff Pearlman join The Herd and detail to Colin Cowherd how the then-New Jersey Nets completely blew it in the 1996 NBA Draft when they had the chance to select the legendary Kobe Bryant with the eight overall pick.

The Nets would infamously select Villanova’s Kerry Kittles, with Bryant being taken by the Hornets at pick 13, before being traded to the Lakers.

Pearlman explains how the Nets had been planning for months to take Bryant if he was available at pick number 8, but then-head coach John Calipari, who possessed full personnel control of the team, balked at taking Bryant just hours before the Draft because both Bryant and his agent made last ditch efforts to make bluffs saying he wouldn’t sign with the Nets, knowing Charlotte already had a deal done with the Lakers if New Jersey had passed on the taking Bryant.

Check out the fascinating story above, and make sure to cover your ears if you’re a Nets fan!

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