From Lower Merion to ‘Black Mamba’: Kobe Bryant’s Philly History

17 photos
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Rusty Kennedy/AP
Kobe Bryant dunks the ball at his Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, high school gym during a practice on Jan. 19, 1996. He led the Aces to the 1996 Pennsylvania state championship.
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Gregg Downer, Kobe's high school coach, holds the full page color newspaper cover of Kobe during the 1996 state championship year for Lower Merion High School.
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Kobe Bryant would occasionally visits his alma mater Lower Merion High School during his time starring with the Lakers.
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A banner marks Kobe's Lower Merion accomplishments. It hangs in a gym named for him.
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People pay their respects outside Bryant Gymnasium at Lower Merion High School.
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NBC10
Kobe would return to the Philly area to speak to students.
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Kobe talks with a classroom full of students while visiting his alma mater Lower Merion High School March 9, 2007.
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NBC10
Kobe would try to alwasy stop in for a cheesesteak at Larry’s Steaks. The Philly sandwich shop put a banner up honoring Kobe and his daughter Gianna after they died.
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Some of the tributes left to Kobe.
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Other tributes included basketballs left outside the Lower Merion gym.
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Kobe always cheered on the Eagles, even speaking to the team during their Super Bowl run.
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He never did, however, play for his hometown Sixers. (Despite this photo)
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Kobe won one of championships by defeating Allen Iverson and the Sixers in 2001.
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A.I. and Kobe would remain friends.
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In 2002, Kobe won the All-Star MVP in front of the Philly crowd at the First Union Center.
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Downer and Kobe shared a moment prior to Kobe's final game against the 76ers in Philly on Dec. 1, 2015. Kobe was presented with his framed Lower Merion jersey.
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Sixers fans showered Kobe with cheers during the final appearance in the City of Brotherly Love.
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