July 1 marks the anniversary of multiple historical and athletic events: The start of the Battle of Gettysburg (1863), the founding of China's Communist Party (1921), WFAN in New York debuting as the nation's first all-sports radio station (1987) and Derek Jeter's "The Dive" into the stands (2004).
Also, on July 1, 1996, the Charlotte Hornets traded Kobe Bryant, the 13th overall pick in that summer's NBA draft, to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Hornets received center Vlade Divac. As Bryant was 17 at the time, he needed his parents to co-sign his first NBA contract.
On Tuesday, Bryant trolled his former team of five days Twitter:
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) July 1, 2014
And Instagram, with the caption: "On this day 18yrs ago the hornets told me right after they drafted me that they had no use for me and were going to trade me. #thanku #Believe #usmnt #lakers #jwest #drbuss #letsGo #USA."
On the surface, this appears like Bryant telling an inspiring story. On the same day the U.S. National Men's Soccer Team went to battle against a greater foe in Belgium, Bryant told his underdog story.
However, Bryant may be exaggerating. In a 2008 piece in the Winston-Salem Journal, Bill Branch, who was the Hornets' head scout in 1996, negated rumors of a Bryant trade demand or the Hornets second-guessing their pick.
Instead, the trade, made by the franchise now known as the New Orleans Pelicans, was actually verbally agreed to before the draft.
"The deal was actually done a day ahead of time, and it was Vlade for a player to be named," Branch said in 2008. "If I remember right, they didn't even tell us who they wanted us to pick until about five minutes before the pick was made. So it was never a matter of us actually drafting Kobe."
This did not stop Bryant from sending a fiery tweet Tuesday.
Bryant has never been one to keep his mouth shut, whether he was accused of rape or feuding with Shaquille O'Neal. Or feuding with Karl Malone over "The Mailman" possibly hitting on his wife. Here's a throwback clip from 2004 with John Saunders and a much younger Stephen A. Smith (not that Saunders was not younger too):
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