Michael Jordan, every time he put on his Chicago Bulls shorts for a game, had a pair of North Carolina shorts on underneath them.
Kobe Bryant, every time he has put on his Los Angeles Lakers shorts, has a pair of his old Lower Merion High School shorts on underneath.
We all learned that later fact last night at the dedication of the new gym at his old school — which is named after Kobe now (thanks in part to a $411,000 donation).
Kobe has modeled plenty of Jordan habits but this news came as a surprise to media who have been around the Laker locker room for years. And there aren’t that many secrets in that locker room — when Sasha Vujacic gets traded and ex-girlfriends thrash him on twitter, it is something people around the team almost expected.
The shorts thing, did not see that coming.
And as Brian Kamenetzky said at the Land O’ Lakers blog, how many of us can still fit into clothes we wore in high school? I’m sure the all-flannel-shirt wardrobe I had back in the day would be a little tight now.
NBA fans around the league know of Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia because of this announcement:
“At guard, 6’6”, out of Lower Merion High School… Kobe Bryant.”
Next week Kobe Bryant will be a permanent part of the school as its gym gets named after him. Well, to be fair that happened after Bryant wrote a massive check to have the building redone, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (via CBS Facts & Rumors).
This year, Bryant, the perennial all-star and face of the Los Angeles Lakers, donated $411,000 to the Lower Merion School District. The gift, the largest ever to the district, is to help fund “a series of inspirational, interactive, and educational displays” at the newly completed, $100 million high school.
The school board voted to name the gym after Bryant, citing not just his donation but a history of support for the school, whose Aces basketball team he led to a state championship in 1996.
Kobe told ESPNLosAngeles he was pretty excited by all this.
“It’s cool for me,” Bryant said. “That’s obviously where playing in the NBA kind of became a realistic goal. I put a lot of work in, a lot of hours in that gym, with a lot of people that support me and still support me to this day. It will be cool to go back there.”
The dedication ceremony is next week because Kobe and he Lakers will be in Philly to take on the Sixers then. The event is almost sold out — both the $25 regular seats and the $250 VIP seats with reception.