Some things are just inexplicable. Chalk Kobe Bryant’s choice of favorite player during his high school years to just such a mystery of the universe.
In a story told on Philadelphia sports blog The 700 Level, Bryant’s high school teammate, then-Lower Merion point guard Evan Monsky, said that when asked point-blank by his high school coach about his favorite player, Kobe eschewed the more obvious choices of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas and the like for Jalen Rose, who at the time was still plying his trade for the University of Michigan.
Here’s Monsky’s remembrance of the incident, which occurred in the Lower Merion locker room during a Saturday practice session.
“Egan just cuts me off and turns to Kobe and goes, ‘Okay, let’s move on. Kobe. Kobe. Kobe. Who’s your favorite player?’
And Kobe just kinda sat there for a second thinking, hand on his chin (because this is a VERY serious question for a 16-year-old, your favorite basketball player says A LOT about you) and everyone’s sitting there waiting for a response, including Coach Egan, and Kobe eventually goes, ‘Hmmm, probably Jalen Rose.’ And Coach Egan was just like, ‘Jalen Rose? From Michigan?’ He wasn’t even angry, just kinda mega-super-bonkers confused. And Kobe was just like “yeah” and Coach Egan shook his head as if to say, ‘What the freak is wrong with teenagers’ and he seemed so defeated and so baffled …”
Confused. Baffled. There are a lot of emotions that would naturally be conjured up from hearing that Kobe Bryant, one of the best (if not the best) players of his generation, once idolized Jalen Rose. But apparently he did, and now we all know. And knowing is half the battle (insert NBC The More You Know graphic here).