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What if the Charlotte Hornets kept Kobe Bryant?

It's an alternate universe, and Kobe Bryant was never traded to the Charlotte Hornets. So what happens if he had stayed in Charlotte?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It's an alternate universe. The Charlotte Hornets are on draft day, and they have decided that their best option is to draft Kobe Bryant straight out of high school. A risky pick for sure, but this kid has a lot of potential and might do some great things some day. In comes an offer from the Los Angeles Lakers to possibly trade for their big man, Vlade Divac, and send the high school guard out west.

The Hornets think long and hard about this decision, but they decide that no they will not trade Bryant. They've bought into his potential, and want to see if they can find the next Michael Jordan in this young kid. Sorry Lakers, but this kid's not yours. Charlotte will ride him to the promised land with Dell Curry, Glen Rice, and Muggsy Bogues on the court with him.

Of course, this isn't actually how it went. In reality, the Hornets had agreed with Los Angeles beforehand to draft Kobe and trade him to the Lakers. It just happened to be a coincidence that he turned into a Hall of Fame player.

Tonight is Kobe's final game in Charlotte. What would it have been like if the Hornets had never traded him to the Lakers on that fateful day in 1996?

Welp. Dodged a bullet on that one.

Thanks for the memories Kobe. You had a fantastic career, and you will be missed.