Kobe Bryant is all set to retire after an illustrious 20-year career in NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers. But the prolonged stay at Lakers couldn’t have materialized had Bryant signed for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2004. Bryant himself revealed on Wednesday that he was “very close” to sign for the Clippers in 2004.
Earlier, Bryant has regretted not playing with Chris Paul in the NBA. When Bryant was a free agent in 2004, there was a widespread belief that he could sign for the cross town rivals of Lakers; the Los Angeles Clippers.
In an interview with the ESPN LA 710, Bryant admitted that he was indeed “very close” to signing with the Clippers, as reported by Serena Winter of the Lakers Nation.
Kobe (on ESPN710) said he was "very close" to signing w/ Clippers in '04. At the time, potential of them playing in Anaheim very intriguing
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) April 6, 2016
So, Bryant appearing in another color apart from the purple and golden could have been a reality. The feud between Bryant and Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal reached a threshold point, and it was widely believed that Bryant wouldn’t have returned to the Lakers, had the franchise retained Shaq for another year.
And Kobe Bryant eventually led Los Angeles Lakers to clinch two more NBA titles. The Clippers were reduced to a laughingstock of the league at that time and an All-star like Bryant joining their roster is really hard to imagine.
The Lakers are now a national phenomenon with a fan base of 15.7 million people only after the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees, according to the ESPN.
Bryant leading the Clippers to a NBA title could have been a much greater accomplishment, but it didn’t happen. As Bryant preferred to become synonymous with the Los Angeles Lakers.
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