At 17 years old, Kobe Bryant was scrimmaging against professional athletes and Philadelphia college stars, about to embark on a 20-year NBA career.
He impressed in those scrimmages with his skill and bravado. But, according to Jerry Stackhouse, Bryant wasn't big on passing.
Stackhouse, now the head coach at Vanderbilt, spent the first two-plus years of his career with the Sixers before being traded to the Pistons and matched up with Bryant in those scrimmages.
Stackhouse noted that it took a little time for Bryant to adjust to the NBA game, which is true. The Lower Merion High School graduate played only 15.5 minutes per game as a rookie. Of course, he went on to make 18 All-Star Games, win five NBA championships and become one of the best players of his era.
Though Stackhouse wanted to set the record straight on those one-on-one games with Bryant, he was still amazed by his ability at such a young age.
"This kid was unbelievable," he said. "Just his ball handling ability … he grew up, obviously, emulating Michael Jordan."
However, the members of the Philadelphia basketball community who were in the gym for those scrimmages were apparently ruthless in their critiques.
"I vividly remember the old heads from Philadelphia," Stackhouse said, "[they're] like, 'Come on, man, you gotta pass the ball! That ain't how you gotta play!'"
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.
More on the Sixers
Jerry Stackhouse tries to set record straight on scrimmages with 17-year-old Kobe Bryant originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia