Kobe Bryant, who died on Sunday at the age of 41, was a Pennsylvania basketball legend. Even before he won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe was a standout player for Lower Merion High School in the Philadelphia suburbs.
During his run at Lower Merion, Kobe went up against a few of our local teams in state tournaments. Bryant faced off with Hazleton in 1995, plus Scranton and Stroudsburg in 1996, the year he led Lower Merion to the Class AAAA state championship.
Misericordia men’s basketball coach Willie Chandler starred for Scranton High School and went head-to-head with Kobe in 1996 — he stopped by our studio on Sunday to share his memories of that day and what Kobe’s legacy means to him. We also caught up with former Hazleton head coach Bruce Leib, who led the Cougars to victory in that 1995 game, who also recalled his memories of that day.