Kobe Bryant’s pre-draft workout tape sees light of day after years of being locked away by NBA assistant


Back in the 1990s, technology wasn’t as advanced as it is these days and teams had to use VHS tapes to record player workouts. That, of course, was the case when Kobe Bryant worked out for teams prior to the 1996 NBA Draft.

In an interview with Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times, former Los Angeles Clippers assistant Rex Kalamian had the task of operating the video camera during Bryant’s workout for the team. Following the draft each year, the team would tape over the footage because there was no need to keep footage of a player whom the team didn’t draft.

However, Kalamian ended up keeping the video footage of Bryant and locked it away for safe keeping. Now a video of that workout has been released by the Los Angeles Times for the world to see.

“This one, I knew was going to be something that I would want to look back at someday,” Kalamian told the Los Angeles Times. “I kind of put it aside and kept it in a box for a very long time.”

While the video quality isn’t the best, it’s still phenomenal to see a glimpse of a 17-year-old Bryant that was fresh off a stellar four-year career at Lower Merion High School in the Philadelphia area. Bryant did a series of workouts, including one where he attempted several layups in a row.

Kalamian, who’s currently an assistant with the Sacramento Kings, recently showed the video to Kings head coach Luke Walton, a former teammate of Bryant. In addition, Kalamian had asked a member of the Clippers’ video department to convert the video to a digital file.

“I walked by the video room about an hour later and there must have been about eight people surrounding the monitor,” he said. “They were all astonished. They’d just watched an hour of Kobe Bryant at [17] years old doing a workout.”

Years later, Kalamian actually told Bryant that he still had the footage in his possession. Prior to one of the games between the Clippers and Lakers, Kalamian had a ball boy deliver a CD case to the Lakers’ locker room for Bryant. 

It’s unclear if Bryant ever watched the footage, but Kalamian believes that he most likely did.

The Clippers certainly will regret not taking Bryant with the No. 7 pick in that fateful draft. Instead, the team selected Lorenzen Wright, who did have a productive 14-year career. However, there was only one Bryant and the world continues to treasure his memory.





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