Kobe Bryant was always a Laker
In a league in which free agency rules everything, where big-market or big-money teams can score the best players, it seems like nobody plays their whole career with one team anymore. Gone are the days of the “franchise player” who only ever wore one uniform — Larry Bird with the Celtics, or John Stockton with the Jazz, for example.
Kobe Bryant was a contemporary throwback to those good old days, never taking the floor in his historic NBA career in anything other than the purple-and-gold of a Los Angeles Lakers jersey. From his rookie year in 1996 to his retirement 20 years later, Bryant was always a Laker. Well, technically, yes. Bryant played for the Lakers the whole time, but he was drafted in 1996 by the Charlotte Hornets. He was selected with the relatively low #13 pick, and then immediately sent to the Lakers.