Where Are They Now? The Players Selected Before Kobe Bryant

Basketball | 5/22/20

Kobe Bryant will go down as one of the 5 or 10 greatest players to ever play basketball. In 1996, though, he was just a basketball prodigy coming out of Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia.

Players being eligible for the draft out of High School was reasonably new concept at the time. Kevin Garnett, selected in 1995, was the first player to come out of the High School ranks in over a decade. A total of 12 teams passed on Kobe for this reason and have kicked themselves ever since.

First Selection – Allen Iverson

allen iverson on the court
MATT CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images
MATT CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images

Allen Iverson, a point guard from Georgetown, was a slam dunk pick for the Philadelphia 76ers with the first choice in the 1996 Draft. He was both a skilled passer and, despite his small frame, was a nearly unstoppable scorer.

The talented player didn’t come without question marks, though. He was arrested while still in High School for a brawl at a Virginia bowling alley. The 76ers overlooked this situation and got a superstar in return.