Kobe Bryant played at Lower Merion High School from 1992 to 1996, where he led the school to a state title the year he graduated. When Bryant hung up his number 33 jersey, he went straight to the NBA.
The video highlight captures Kobe at Lower Marion
By his junior season in 1994-95, Kobe Bryant was considered the best basketball player in Delaware County. The Philadelphia Inquirer said “his excellence has resulted not only from his physical talents, but also from an all-encompassing love of the game.
His junior season, he led the Aces to its first Central League championship in nearly 20 years. The junior scored a career-high 42 points last night and the Aces won, 76-70, to capture their first league title in boys’ basketball since the 1977-78 season.
The team lost in the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs, four wins short of a state title. Bryant, whom The Inquirer named its all-area player of the year, gave an emotional speech after the game to his teammates.
By his senior season, the No. 1 question was: Will Kobe go to college, or join the NBA?
During his time in high school, Bryant trained with the Philadelphia 76ers. John Lucas, then the club’s head coach and general manager, would rate draft prospects based on how they performed against Bryant in one-on-one match-ups.
Lucas became so impressed with Bryant that he would have taken the prep star first overall in the 1996 NBA Draft. Lucas, though, was fired before the draft and the 76ers chose Allen Iverson.
But before leaving for the NBA, Bryant guided Lower Merion to a state championship.
In March 1996, Lower Merion beat Erie Cathedral Prep, 48-43, for the state Class AAAA title at Hershey Park Arena. It was the school’s first state championship since 1943.
When he graduated from Lower Merion, Bryant opted to forgo college, and declared himself eligible for the NBA draft.