Kobe Bryant 1996 NBA Draft Lakers

Kobe Bryant has officially passed Michael Jordan for third all time on the NBA scoring list, and with that we can reminisce on how far the man we call the Black Mamba has come.

Bryant has been in the league for 19 seasons. 19 years! That's insane. Just to give you a perspective on how crazy that is, a kid born in that year is currently in their freshmen year of college right now.

What's even more crazy — since Ray Allen has yet to sign with an NBA team this season and Steve Nash is out for the year — is that Kobe is the only player left in the league out of the 1996 draft class.

It's insane that Bryant was drafted 13th overall. At the time, it's reasonable that guys like Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Marcus Camby and Ray Allen were picked ahead of them. But some of the others? Not so much.

I'm sure a lot of the teams looking back are shaking their heads, especially the six teams that took different players before Kobe at No. 13.

With that said, here are the six players who are somehow picked ahead of Kobe in 1996 draft, and probably regret the living hell out of it.

Vitaly Potapenko

Vitaly Potapenko

Position: Center (6-foot-10, 280 pounds)

Spots Ahead of Kobe: 1 (12th overall by Cleveland Cavaliers)

Years in the NBA: 11 (1996-99 with Cavaliers, 1999-2002 with Celtics, 2002-06 with Sonics, 2006-07 with Kings)

Last played in the NBA: 8 seasons years ago

Career averages: 6.5 PPG and 4.5 RPG

Todd Fuller

Todd Fuller

Position: Center (6-foot-11, 255 pounds)

Spots Ahead of Kobe: 2 (11th overall by Golden State Warriors)

Years in the NBA: 5 (1996-99 with Warriors, 1999 with Jazz, 1999-2000 with Hornets, 2000-01 with Heat)

Last played in the NBA: 14 seasons ago

Career averages: 3.7 PPG and 3 RPG

Erick Dampier

Erick Dampier

Position: Center (6-foot-11, 265 pounds)

Spots Ahead of Kobe: 3 (10th overall by Indiana Pacers)

Years in the NBA: 16 (1996-97 with Pacers, 1997-2004 with Warriors, 2004-10 with Mavericks, 2010-11 with Heat, 2012 with Hawks)

Last played in the NBA: 3 seasons ago

Career averages: 7.4 PPG and 7.1 RPG

Samaki Walker

Samaki Walker

Position: Power forward (6-foot-9, 250 pounds)

Spots Ahead of Kobe: 4 (9th overall by Dallas Mavericks)

Years in the NBA: 10 (1996-99 with Mavericks, 1999-2001 with Spurs, 2001-03 with Lakers and Kobe, 2003-04 with Heat, 2004-05 with Wizards, 2005-06 with Pacers)

Last played in the NBA: 9 seasons ago

Career averages: 5.3 PPG and 4.7 RPG

Kerry Kittles

Kerry Kittles Kobe Bryant

Position: Shooting guard (6-foot-5, 179 pounds)

Spots Ahead of Kobe: 5 (8th overall by New Jersey Nets)

Years in the NBA: 9 (1996-2004 with Nets, 2004-05 with Clippers)

Last played in the NBA: 10 seasons ago

Career averages: 14.1 PPG and 2.6 APG

Lorenzen Wright (R.I.P.)

Lorenzen Wright

Position: Power forward/Center (6-foot-11, 255 pounds)

Spots Ahead of Kobe: 6 (7th overall by Los Angeles Clippers)

Years in the NBA: 13 (1996-99 with Clippers, 1999-2001 with Hawks, 2001-06 with Grizzlies, 2006-08 with Hawks, 2008 with Kings, 2008-09 with Cavaliers)

Last played in the NBA: 6 seasons ago

Career averages: 8 PPG, 6.4 RPG


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