Throughout their history, the Los Angeles Clippers have been far from the best franchise in the NBA. They’ve made countless mistakes in the Draft and haven’t even made it to the NBA Finals at least once.
The Clippers have been near the bottom of the standings more often than not and, before the Lob City era, they were far from a prime destination for free agents. Instead, they’ve lived in the shadow of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ironically, the Clippers could’ve had the greatest player in Lakers’ history as a star of their own, as they were pretty close to drafting Kobe Bryant in 1996 but passed on him because he was just too young.
The Clippers Passed On Kobe Bryant Because Of His Age
“I actually had a really good and firm workout with the Clippers. I did, and then they told me… you know, this is the best workout we’ve ever seen. I’m like oh man, I’m excited I’m coming to LA. I said, alright, so you guys gonna draft me? No! I asked them why? For me, as a kid from Philadelphia, you’ve had the horrible winters, you know I’m excited to come out to LA, palm trees and all,” Kobe said on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. “They said, we wanna turn things around with our organization and we felt like if we drafted a 17-YO kid, then the city of Los Angeles won’t take us seriously. That was so much motivation.”
The Clippers had the 7th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft and could’ve taken Kobe but they went with Lorenzen Wright instead. Bryant would eventually fall to 13th to the Charlotte Hornets, which traded him to the Lakers.
Kobe went on to become one of the greatest players in basketball history. He led the Lakers to 5 NBA Championships and won countless accolades throughout his career, while the Clippers have yet to win their first ring. What could’ve been!