Not too long ago, this picture of a young, wide-eyed Kobe Bryant came across the computer screen and instantly threw my mind in a frenzy. An undoubted future first ballot Hall Of Famer and arguably greatest player of the generation, Bean’s career has seen so many peaks and valleys it’s often easy to forget the early years of his career. I’m talking the atrocious Game 5 against the Jazz in the 1997 semifinals which found him air balling his last three attempts; or even his very short lived rap career.
But seriously, how much does Kobe’s time in the NBA change if he’s never traded from Charlotte? How ironic is it that the Hornets damn near gift wrapped another player, Chris Paul, for the Lakers? Does the franchise leave Charlotte if Bryant emerges into the superstar he eventually became? And most importantly, how many rings, if any, does Kobe end up with if he and Vlade Divac never swap time zones?