Originally posted on Bush League Chronicle  |  Last updated 2/19/13
On Monday, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss died at the age of 80. And with his passing comes a story from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports claiming that, at one time, Buss nearly traded superstar Kobe Bryant to the Detroit Pistons.Bryant had grown angry and discontent from the post-Shaquille O'Neal era in Los Angeles that it persuaded him to demand a trade. In the fall of 2007, Buss summoned Bryant to his home to discuss the deal. "Detroit," Buss said. The Lakers had agreed to a deal to send Bryant to the Pistons and needed Bryant's approval to waive his no-trade clause. The package included a combination of Detroit's core players and draft picks, sources say. Buss and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak needed an answer soon, because they refused to let the issue linger into training camp. However, upon hearing of the news, Bryant began having a change of heart.Looking back, Bryant isn't sure it would've mattered whether it was Detroit or Chicago, Dallas or New York. In that moment, in Buss' house in the hills, it washed over Bryant how much staying a Laker for life meant to him, how no matter how dire the state of the franchise seemed, that Buss had a history of restoring the Lakers to championship contention."It hit me that I didn't really want to walk out on Dr. Buss," Bryant told Yahoo! Sports on Monday.In the interview, Bryant admitted to being impatient and failing to give Buss' track record of success and greatness its proper due. Obviously, Bryant ultimately decided to stay a Laker.His loyalty was rewarded in 2009 and 2010 as he helped lead the franchise to back-to-back world championships -- giving him five rings total for his illustrious career. Bryant, a Philadelphia native, was drafted by the Lakers in the first round of the 1996 draft. He has spent his entire NBA career with Los Angeles and has earned 15 trips to the All-Star Game.
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