NBA

What happened to the players selected ahead of Kobe Bryant in the 1996 draft?

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On this day in 2012, Kobe Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points, surpassing the mark of a certain Wilt Chamberlain.

The L.A. Lakers superstar retired at the end of the 2015/16 season with a stunning 60-point outing against the Utah Jazz - taking him to 33,643 and third in all-time standings.

Bryant forged a career for himself as one of the greatest to ever play the game. But in 1996, he was drafted 13th as a 17-year-old coming straight out of high school. Here is what happened to the 12 players selected above the Black Mamba.

1. Allen Iverson

We all know the story of A.I. Arguably the best player to never get his hands on a championship ring. The Answer was enshrined into the Hall of Fame this year and is a former MVP.

2. Marcus Camby

Drafted by the Toronto Raptors, Camby became one of the league's premium defensive players. Being a block leader on four occasions, he was also Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 and a two-time All-Defensive first team member.

3. Shareef Abdur-Rahim

Named to the All-Rookie first team during his debut campaign with the Vancouver Grizzlies, Abdur-Rahim would go on to play in the All-Star game in 2002. He averaged 18.1 points and 7.5 rebounds during his time in the big league.

4. Stephon Marbury

Stephon played in two All-Star games and was selected to as many All-NBA teams. He is still playing in China for Beijing Ducks having ended his 13-year NBA career in 2009.

5. Ray Allen

He may have last played in the NBA in 2014, but Ray Allen only announced his retirement this year. As a two-time champion and 10-time All-Star, Allen is considered one of the deadliest shooters ever.

6. Antoine Walker

Walker averaged 17.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists in a 12-year NBA career that produced a single title. He won his solitary ring as a member of the Dwyane Wade-led Miami Heat. Drafted by the Boston Celtics, he spent seven seasons in Beantown.

7. Lorenzen Wright

Played nine seasons in the NBA, mainly as a substitute. Began his career with the L.A. Clippers before stints with the Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers.

8. Kerry Kittles

Kittles made an impressive start to his professional career, being named to the All-Rookie 2nd team after averaging 16.4 points. After producing 17.2 during his sophomore year, he never reached those heights again. An injury-riddled fourth season put a spanner in the works and he retired in 2005.

9. Samaki Walker

After being selected by Dallas, Walker played for the San Antonio Spurs, L.A. Lakers - picking up a title in 2002 - Miami Heat, Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers, ending his NBA career in 2005 with averages of 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds.

10. Erick Dampier

The Mississippi native only retired in 2012 after a 16-year career in the league as a roll player. Through stints with the Indiana Pacers, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat, he averaged 7.4 points and 7.1 rebounds.

11. Todd Fuller

Selected by the Golden State Warriors, Fuller only lasted five seasons and 225 games before he was heading overseas. He spent the next four years bouncing around Europe and then heading to Australia.

The center averaged 3.7 points, 3 rebounds and 0.3 assists during his NBA career.

12. Vitaly Potapenko

The highest placed European in this draft, the Ukrainian was taken by the Cleveland Cavaliers as a 21-year-old center but failed to make any significant impact on the league.

He played 610 regular season games, averaged 6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 0.7 assists. He suited up for four different franchises before departing the Sacramento Kings in 2007.

Topics:
NBA
Western Conference
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Kobe Bryant

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