VIDEO: Kobe Bryant's 1996 announcement to skip college, enter NBA

PHILADELPHIA -- Before he took the NBA, the nation and the world by storm, Kobe Bryant was already a legend in Philadelphia's high school sports scene.

The 1996 Lower Merion High School graduate was arguably the biggest basketball name in the region, and he was still a teenager.

He was already so famous, his news conference in which he declared, "I have decided to skip college and take my God-given talents to the NBA" was one of the big stories across all Philadelphia media.

It was a daring move in that era. He was only the 6th player in NBA history to make the move to skip college.

By that time, Bryant had already become media savvy, as had many of his teammates and classmates (whether or not they liked it).

Bryant was one of the most-watched high school players in the country, and scouts, sports reporters, and high school basketball fans all flocked to the school and followed his every move.

Even then, Bryant had a daring charisma.

Watch him in the video, as he smirks and mugs for the cheering fans during his announcement. In that moment, he showed the basketball world his confidence, and over time he more than backed it up.

Lower Merion High School won the Pennsylvania State Championship Bryant's senior year.

When Byant graduated, he was Pennsylvania's all-time leading scorer, having surpassed both Wilt Chamberlain and Lionel Simmons.
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