Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 at 2:47 pm  |  72 responses

Photos: Kobe Bryant in High School

The Lower Merion years.





Photos by Al Tielemans, altielemans.com
Originally published in SLAM 11

If you’re lucky enough to have a copy of SLAM 11 stashed, you’ll find this 1996 photo shoot only a couple pages after the Lil’ Penny poster. With features on Steve Nash (as a Santa Clara Bronco) and Kevin Garnett (in his first professional season), it’s an Ish for the ages. Not to despair if your copy’s gone missing, though. Al Tielemans‘ classic photos have been re-printed (along with Michael Bradley’s adapted story) in SLAM Presents Kobe and LeBron. It’s on newstands everywhere.

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  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    One of my favorite shoots. Thanks to Al for allowing us to share these images.

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  • Riki

    Any chance of the Steve Nash story appearing on the site?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne


  • http://slamonline.com Adam Fleischer

    The ones with him sitting on the bench are my favorites.

  • Law


  • LB

    Damn, look how worn out that ball looks. That wheathered ball is evidence of Kobe’s work ethic, which we can see he had even at a young age.

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    @LB or it may be evidence of a cheap ball.

  • adrianc513

    lol @ the walkman

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    @Riki: Good question, Riki. We should have that up at some point.

  • Hussman25

    I soooooooooo dislike Kobe; but the first picture is DOPE! He played my HS in the District Playoffs in 96 and gave us 50 in his gym… SMFH! I knew then he’d go pro… (I can hold a grudge)

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Even if he went to a rival school, just knowing about a player like Kobe from the time he was 16 would make me a fan.

  • gobi

    he looks so cool :D

  • Atrain

    For some reason the photos in the hallway/bench remind me of Above the Rim. Dope

  • Robb

    Awesome! These pics made me forget that LA Times photo shoot

  • Kirk

    This must be around the time his wife was born !

  • http://staticseth.blogspot.com Seth

    Andrew Bynum look-alike on the bench (get it?) in plaid. Or flannel, whatever it is.

  • topo

    theres a girl in her pajamas in the picture of him standing in the hall

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    The first pic is sweet, and the backdrop fabric makes the pic.

  • sample

    a casette tape and walkman! damn, kids now don’t know that technology!

  • kwame

    high school u was the maaan homie

  • Toni Kukoc


  • http://www.yougotdunkedon.com LilKDub503

    @sample Yes, I do know that technology, although my life kind of straddles CD’s and tapes. Mid-90′s. Gotta love those cassettes-one artists, two sides, play.

    This issue isn’t on Primedia, anyway I can get it?

  • Brickshooting J

    I do have that issue (with Magic on the cover, I got it in Paris). That’s how I met SLAM. I’ve been in love with the mag ever since. Keep up the great work fellas!

  • Brickshooting J

    By the way, is there a girl in her pajamas in the third picture?

  • http://www.slamonline.com DeMarco Williams

    Simply awesome. SLAM never ceases with the hot.

  • Hussman25

    @Ryne: True… There’s not too many times I can say I seen greatness on the court… Kobe (im shocked im saying this) has it. Ill appreciate his game after it’s all done like I did for MJ. (SN: The first shot if you backaway from it looks like a painting, because of that backdrop over the bleachers.) Simply a beautiful shot… Kudos Al

  • Fat Lever

    Hahaha! Mid 90′s east coast flava with the Mecca jeans and tongue out on the boots(although Kobe gets a violation for the boots not being Timbs)! In ’96 I was a soph/junior in HS and between Kobe and Dajuan, who was just starting to make noise, us Philadelphians thought we had 2 NBA superstars in the making groomed right in our backyards. It’s a shame Philly never accepted Kobe. If people got all hurt over him saying he was coming to Philly to rip our hearts out against the Sixers in the Finals, I don’t understand that logic. What did they want him to say, “I thought I’d visit the Liberty Bell and try my hardest to win the game”? Or maybe it was because he was from the Main Line? Who knows, who cares? The guy can flat out ball, no matter what environment you put him in he was going to dominate. Not a Kobe fan, because of course, he is a Laker, but I definitely respect and appreciate what I’m seeing from him.

  • T-Money

    Good looking. I remember in HS though people were just straight nazis with Timb boots. Either you had air force ones, j’s, wallabees or timbs. No other options were tolerated.

  • Pingback: SLAM’s Pics of Kobe Bryant in High School | The Hoop Doctors

  • http://www.basketball247.co.uk Greg Tanner

    “This must be around the time his wife was born” – she’s only 4 years younger than him, homie!

    The photos bring back memories, man. Kobe is just a few months younger than me. How different our lives have been though!

    Funny how he still looks pretty much the same. Especially in that second picture.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    Wow. I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym at LM. Kobe still shows his HS so much love.

  • tony oaklief

    Wasn’t kobes reason for changing to #24 is because he wore it in high school??? I see #33 here & in everyother hs pic…what’s up with that??? Can somebody help me???

  • http://www.another48minutes.com Gerard Himself

    great pics, never seen them.

  • Hussman25

    @Tony: Bean wore 33 in HS; not 24… not sure the reason of the switch to 24 from 8… I always believed he wore 8 in the L was b/c If you flipped 33 it became an 8, but that’s just me thinking outside the box…

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    He wears 24 now so he can feel like he’s 1 up on MJ. It’s a psychological thing with him. Well thats my theory anyway.

  • Joe

    nice pics man, nice stuff.

  • Simmy Sosa

    He wears 24 in honor of his favorite TV show character, Jack Bauer.

  • http://minusthebars.blogspot.com Don

    Kobe Bryant was destined to become an NBA superstar. Plus the kid just seemed to want it more than most young players. I’ve always heard the old heads express – it’s not all about talent. But when you add determination and talent together it usually packs a powerful punch.

    Bear witness.

  • http://slamonline.com Dave

    I had that Walkman. You could wear it in the shower. True story.

  • http://www.anwilson.blogspot.com rainman10

    I believe he said he wears 24 because of something having to do with 24 hours in a day and basketball. Like ball all day or something.

    Amare wears #1 because he wants to feel one up on Robert Parrish. It’s a psychological thing.

  • http://yahoo.com kevin armenta

    the original YOUNG MONEY!

  • Alvin

    damn i miss the 90s…..good times…

  • the_baller20

    haha i love it. espicially the photos of kobe during school, man is that ever ol’ school.

  • jumpman3224

    the yellow portable cassette player is dope

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed


  • dsbidding

    the reason for the number 8 is because at the mcdonalds all american game he wore 143 which is he took 1 plus 4 plus 3 which would equal 8. followed that guy since high school love him. had albums full of paper clippings of him everything. it makes me sad to see that though still at the top of his game all things gotta come to an end and one day will leave the game of basketball. love ya kobe and thanks for all ya done

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Don’t like Kobe, but these picture are fresh. I have the issue stashed away somewhere back home. Actually if I remember correct I have two different issues of this edition; one with Magic on the cover and one with Stackhouse. Entirely the same mag, just different covers. If I remember right, I got one in my subscription (from the US) and bought the other at a newstand in Copenhagen, and got very dissapointed when I found out it was the same magazine apart from the cover. Lang, Ben, anyone at SLAM can you confirm that this issue had different covers for Europe and the US? (ohh those memories..)

  • k.a.

    what is up with up with pajama girl?!!

  • http://slamonline.com Big D

    k.a…that’s her juvie uniform…

  • http://brimartin13@gmail.com Brion

    I like Kobes wearing all white photo shoot better!!!

  • MIKE

    these pics really show the talent and the love kobe has for basketball. even though he is with his friends sitting down, he doesn’t leave the basketball far behind him. it shows that no matter where he goes, at the end of the day you cant doubt that he hasn’t been in the gym. GREAT PICS!! (ya number1 KOBE FAN)

  • KB8

    Check out Mamba rocking the TAPE DECK!!!

    Priceless. Great shoot guys, and great mag.

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    @k.a man that pijama girl thing crack me up, really i was in tear laughing, didnt have noticed…cool picks of bean with his buddies and the old ball allways with him

  • Bruce Lee

    Oh yeah, also, he was 33 because his sophomore year at Lower Merion, they got new jersey’s and 24 wasn’t in the batch. So, 33 was there and he wore it. I believe I read this on the Lower Merion website. Check it out.

  • DC

    Where did these pictures come from??

  • http://http/facebook.com james h. ellis jr

    Those are great pics! Love em!

  • http://claydefayette@yahoo.com Clay

    Does Kobe have Dre’s on?

  • ronnell

    the best player on the planet in high school. that is a cool picture of him and his teamates.

  • Leead Negri

    wow… just reminds us that kobe is human and used to chill back in high school like everbody… just to think that a year later he was already jumpin’ in the NBA.

  • MillionaireCafeLA

    ” Long live the king Yo “

  • The Philosopher

    ^^ HEY, MAN!! LOL!!

  • León


  • C2

    Pretty sure I still have that walkman stashed aways somewhere

  • Sebastian kyle

    Great pics. I hope you slam people will re-publish that edition

  • RayRay

    awesome pics. Kobe is a beast. That’s my dawg right there. Good lookin out on the pics. That east coast dressing is & will always be wack tho imho. The timbs were trashy & i wouldnt rock timbs if asked to. I know he aint rocking timbs tho so he still coo in my book ha

  • ccantrell

    awesome pics yal

  • M5

    Young Kobe, on the set of Friday, in that fourth picture.

  • JTaylor21

    Ray Ray you corny-a** west coast bum. Take you flat bummy looking chucks. tims will always better than chucks. Guys from the west are weak, u need 4 people to ride in a car just to go shoot somebody, walk up like a man by yourself and just do it like nike.

  • Lionel…

    those pics look vintage…
    btw is dat andrew bynum besides
    him? pic 4

  • Patrick


  • http://www.slamonline.com Clyde

    I had that walkman too lol, first pic is way sick.