Byron Scott Always Saw Something Special in Kobe Bryant

There was once an 18-year-old who scored 24 points against the Golden State Warriors, a kid trying to make his way on one of the most influential franchises of all time.

Byron Scott of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on Friday, January 11, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Credit: Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

Byron Scott of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on Friday, January 11, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Credit: Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

“He has no idea,” Byron Scott said back in 1997, “He’s just playing and having fun and enjoying himself. He knows he wants to win a championship. But I don’t think he knows all the stuff that goes with it.”

The “he” would be Kobe Bryant, who had all the talent and all the desire but needed a few years to turn that into the first of five championships he would win with the Lakers.

Scott was a 35-year-old shooting guard near the end of his career when he re-signed with the Lakers for one last symbolic season before calling it quits on a 14-year run as an NBA player. The Lakers had obtained Bryant in a trade with Charlotte two months earlier, in July 1996.

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