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Top 12 "Where Are They Now" Stories For The Players Drafted Before Kobe

The 1996 NBA Draft was an incredible showcase of talent that introduced the Association to a handful of basketball legends, another handful of solid contributors, and a whole bunch of swing and miss players. There are always uncertainties when it comes to young professional basketball players, especially in the era where there were no limits on rookie salaries. This era created overnight millionaires and that had widely different effects on each career path that started at the 1996 Draft.

Kobe Bryant is undeniably the greatest player taken in the draft and that is high praise considering there are two other MVP winners in his draft class. Twelve players were taken ahead of Kobe Bryant, who became the first guard in history to be drafted straight out of high school. Kobe’s excellence on the court was apparent at the age of 17, but risk averse teams decided to go with seemingly safer options.

The day before the draft, the Los Angeles Lakers traded for the 13th pick owned by the Charlotte Hornets. Five minutes before the selection, the Lakers called for the Hornets to choose Kobe Bryant. In exchange for Vlade Divac, the Lakers had a franchise player who would lead them to five NBA titles. One of the greatest drafts in NBA history produced champions, phenoms, and all-time greats. These players have had interesting lives and careers and here is what they are up to now.

12 Allen Iverson 

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

11 Marcus Camby 

via nba.com

10 Shareef Abdur-Rahim 

via cbssports.com

9 Stephon Marbury 

via ftw.usatoday.com

8 Ray Allen 

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

7 Antoine Walker 

via tnstatenewsroom.com

6 Lorenzen Wright 

via jongose.ninja

5 Kerry Kittles 

via netsdaily.com

4 Samaki Walker 

via vanityfair.com

3 Erick Dampier 

via twitter.com

2 Todd Fuller 

via nba.com

1 Vitaly Potapenko 

via ridiculousupside.com

The Ukraine Train, Vitaly Potapenko, was selected immediately before Kobe Bryant by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Following his eight-season NBA career, Potapenko played briefly in Spain before setting his sights on a coaching job. He has successfully managed to climb up the coaching ranks from a position with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants all the way to his current assistant job with the Cavs. As a player-development coach, he works alongside David Blatt to maximize the considerable talents that the Cavs have at their disposal.

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Top 12 "Where Are They Now" Stories For The Players Drafted Before Kobe