Some things in life are just baffling and unexplainable. Kobe Bryant’s choice for a favorite player back in his high-school days remains one of the ultimate mysteries in the universe.
In a story told on Philadelphia sports blog The 700 Level, Bryant’s high school teammate then- Lower Merion point guard Evan Monsky said that when asked point-blank by his high school coach about his favorite player, Kobe eschewed the more obvious choices of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson. Kobe’s favorite player was actually Jalen Rose, a member of the Fab Five group from the University of Michigan.
Monsky’s remembrance of the story, which occurred in the Lower Merion locker room during a Saturday practice session is quite remarkable.
“Egan just cuts me off and turns to Kobe and goes, ‘Okay, let’s move on. Kobe. Kobe. Kobe. Who’s your favorite player? And Kobe just kinda sat there for a second thinking, hand on his chin (because this is a VERY serious question for a 16-year-old, your favorite basketball player says A LOT about you) and everyone’s sitting there waiting for a response, including Coach Egan, and Kobe eventually goes, ‘Hmmm, probably Jalen Rose.’ And Coach Egan was just like, ‘Jalen Rose? From Michigan?’ He wasn’t even angry, just kinda mega-super-bonkers confused. And Kobe was just like “yeah” and Coach Egan shook his head as if to say, ‘What the freak is wrong with teenagers’ and he seemed so defeated and so baffled …”
This is a quite surprising answer from the Black Mamba itself as it turns out that the man Kobe was emulating throughout his career wasn’t his favorite player back in his high school. It’s interesting that Kobe’s favorite player would later intentionally injure him in the 2000 NBA Finals. We also remember that night when Kobe dropped 81 points on Jalen & the rest of the Raptors team.