Thinking of all the things he achieved in life, it’s understandable that Kobe’s high school career is often boiled down to “he went to the NBA straight from high school.” That in itself lets you know that he was terrific, but we rarely go into specifics.
Kobe Bryant was playing varsity as a freshman. He played all five positions during his time at Lower Merion and averaged 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 3.8 blocks, and 2.3 steals as a junior. Bryant got national attention participating in the famous ABCD camp, where he won the MVP award.
Before his senior year, the 76ers invited him to scrimmage where he played one-on-one against Jerry Stackhouse. The two could never agree on how it ended, Kobe claiming he won the game. As a senior, Kobe averaged 30.8 points, 12 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4 steals, and 3.8 blocks while leading his team to their first state championship in 53 years. At the end of his high school career, Kobe was Southeastern Pennsylvania’s all-time leading scorer at 2,883 points, surpassing both Wilt Chamberlain and Lionel Simmons.
When it comes to attitude, it was already there. Before a match against a state rival, the opponents said they know Kobe was the best player on the court, but they believed they could contain him. Wheat else was there to say? They had to believe there was a way. It was enough to light some extra fire (not that Kobe needed any.)
Kobe’s SAT score was 1080, meaning he could pick any college he wanted. But, as Kevin Garnett went to the NBA straight from high school a year before, young Bryant started contemplating doing the same. Deciding to do so, Kobe became the sixth player in NBA history to skip college and go pro straight out of high school. After seeing his workout, Jerry West knew he was looking at one of the best ever, and the rest is history.