DeMar DeRozan Stunted in Kobe’s Throughout 2016-17

Nike released the “Compton” Kobe AD in April. It was inspired by Bryant’s stretch in the 1997 playoffs where he airballed four late-game shots in Utah. Bryant was just 18 at the time.

Back in Compton, a seven-year-old DeMar DeRozan was watching that game, soaking in young Kobe’s failure, learning from his mistakes. Then he went on to watch KB win five championships and become one of the most feared clutch players ever.

DeRozan studied Bryant’s midrange game, how he shifted his shoulders to drive around the defense, how he used his pivot foot to get to his fadeaway. And he paid close attention to the Black Mamba’s sneakers. When the “Compton” Kobe ADs dropped, they carried DeRozan’s name with them.

Twenty years after all those oxygen shots, DeRozan’s turned himself into a solidified NBA star. He’s got a Gold Medal under his belt and three All-Star selections, too. He’s an automatic scorer, a nonstop force that relentlessly bullies his way to both the rim and free throw line.

His high level of play and his stature have landed him on the short list of Swoosh-sponsored athletes to have their PEs get released. Even before the “Compton” joints came out, Deebo’s 2016-17 season was another banner year for Vino silhouettes.

He played in the Kobe 1, the Kobe 9 Elite, the Kobe 11 and the AD while he averaged a career-best 27 points per game, always making sure to represent his appreciation for Kobe and the love he has for his home state of California.

Scroll through the gallery above to see all the Kobes that DeRozan played in last season.

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Photos courtesy of Getty Images