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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/3/2023

In the winter of 1996, it was rumored that an uber-talented high school senior at Lower Merion High School named Kobe Bryant might forgo college and enter the upcoming 1996 NBA draft. One night that February, a national sports photographer from Philadelphia named Rusty Kennedy was shooting a La Salle University basketball game where Kobe's father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, had played in college and was then serving as an assistant coach. Kennedy had gotten to know Joe during his NBA playing days with the Philadelphia 76ers when he covered the team. While the two college teams were warming up, they started talking and arranged a private photoshoot with the purpose of Kennedy's professional photos going to the Bryant family.

On a weekday morning later that March at the Lower Merion basketball gym, Kennedy did the shoot with another longtime sports photographer, George Widman, who brought his own set of studio strobe lights. They captured Kobe in several intimate portrait poses as well as fantastic action shots of him dunking. According to Kennedy, "the pictures could not have turned out better. Kobe was so generous with his time, about as nice of a young man as one could meet. Afterwards, Kobe gave me his home address and I sent some of the developed photos from the private shoot to him and his family. On April 29, 1996, Kennedy returned to Lower Merion to shoot the famous press conference (See Lot 422) where Kobe announced his decision to enter the upcoming NBA draft.

Presented in this lot are 33 original negatives from the camera Rusty Kennedy used in his private photoshoot with 17-year-old Kobe, along with pristine 8x10 photographs printed off their original negatives. These stunning images in content quality and visual clarity have never even been seen by the public until now! Several years later, after Kobe had become an NBA superstar, Kennedy got the image rights from this private photoshoot copywritten. Ownership and usage rights to these images will be transferred to the winning bidder.

Owning the original images and their usage rights from the photographer who took them is an incredibly rare opportunity. The 33 printed photos would be designated Type II if submitted for authentication to Henry Yee at PSA/DNA. Includes flash drive with high-resolution digital files of each image and LOA from Rusty Kennedy.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $42,955
Number Bids:24
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