Ep. 180 - Kobe's HS to Lakers Journey: The Plan & Its Roadblocks!

On Episode 180 of the Ballislife In The Paint Show, hosts Ronnie Flores, Ani Umana and Chelsea Hopkins go hard on the one-year plan that was hatched for the late, great Kobe Bryant to turn pro out of high school with special guest Gary Charles, who was part of the small circle that knew of the plans for the 17-year wunderkind from Lower Merion High School (Ardmore, Pa.).
Before bringing on Gary Charles for his exclusive and unique insight on the plan to get Bryant to the L.A. Lakers via a trade with the Charlotte Hornets, the ITP Crew give their instant reaction to the Super Bowl (and Usher's halftime performance) and dish on comments from WNBA great Sheryl Swoopes on Iowa's Caitlin Clark regarding her adjustment once she gets to the W. Was Swoopes on point, out of line or partially correct? Chelsea goes in.
Charles then spends 40 minutes breaking down the plan to get Kobe from Lower Merion to the NBA, even though he was a wing guard and academically eligible for any college in the country. That was unheard of at the time. Charles goes "In The Paint" on meeting Kobe through his father Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, what Kobe was like as a rising junior at ABCD Camp, the keys to hatching the plan for him to turn pro, and the occurrences that could have foiled Team Bryant's plan to keep him from Nike and keep other NBA teams drafting higher than Charlotte from realizing he should be their pick.
What would have happened in Lower Merion would have traveled to Los Angeles for a MLK Showcase game vs. Schea Cotton and St John Bosco? Why taking R & B singer Brandy to the prom was potentially worrisome? What if Tim Thomas would have went straight pro out of high school instead of going to Villanova? What if the New Jersey Nets would have went for Kobe at No. 8 instead of Kerry Kittles?
Charles, a longtime grassroots basketball coach and event director, also gives some insight on a Plan B if the Charlotte move didn't happen and what transpired leading up to draft day.
The ITP crew then close this special episode with their reactions to the interview and some media references helpful to learn more background information on Kobe's unique path. Kobe's prep-to-pro journey hasn't been told in this manner, so make sure to tune in to Episode 180 from start to finish! Also make sure to check out our ITP Overtime shorts for more info, insight and behind the scenes stories!

(0:00) - Intro
(1:24) - Mahomes Chasing Brady: NFL's Future
(2:01) - Super Bowl Halftime Show Reaction!
(3:54) - Intro To Kobe Bryant's Plan To Go Pro
(5:32) - Sheryl Swoopes on Caitlin Clark: Chelsea's Dish!
(10:28) - Ani & Ron's Dish on Swoopes' Caitlin Comments
(18:56) - Announcers Cheering On Greats?
(23:28) - Kobe Bryant's Statue: Instant Reaction
(25:48) - Gary Charles (Grassroots Czar) Interview
(30:51) - Charles: Kobe As Rising Junior
(32:36) - Charles: Realizing Kobe's The One
(37:59) - Charles: Keys To Hatching HS-To-Pro Plan
(43:57) - Charles: Close Calls That Could Foil The Plan!
(49:41) - Charles: Plan B If Charlotte Deal Changes!
(53:07) - L.A. Kobe Game That Never Happens
(59:06) - Charles: Shielding Kobe From Nike
(1:00:47) - Charles: Leading Up Draft Day!
(1:08:24) - Chelsea & Ani's Reaction To Kobe Plan
(1:13:52) - Ron's Experience With Kobe's Timeline
(1:17:54) - Ani & Chelsea's Dish on Finding The One
(1:22:54) - More Media References To Kobe's Journey
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