Thursday, December 25, 2008

Only a matter of time before he was going to be a superstar

SLAM magazine's Matt Caputo has a good Q&A with Ced Ceballos, who averaged 21 ppg for the Lakers back in the mid 1990s.

Here's what Ceballos had to say about a young Kobe Bryant, his teammate in 1996-97:

His rookie year... he comes out and doesn't realize he's a pro now. He just loved the game of basketball and wanted to play damn near everywhere. He went down to Venice Beach and broke his hand in some pick-up game on a Sunday afternoon.

When he started to practice with us—a Lakers team that had Shaq and All-Stars like Nick Van Exel, Eddie Johnson and Cedric Ceballos, and with Jerry West mentoring him—he would finish practice with us and then drive to a local high school and practice with them.

When everyone else was hanging out and playing video games, he was watching high school games, pro games, playing with high schoolers, pros, college cats over at UCLA. I don't think he rested at all his first year.

He would do some stuff in practice that was unbelievable, but he couldn't finish them because maybe his weight or strength wasn't quite there yet. It was special to watch him; he was just so eager. It was only a matter of time before he was going to be a superstar.