One of the biggest "what ifs" in college basketball history involves Kobe Bryant. Namely, what if he had decided to go to college back in 1996 instead of entering the NBA draft?
Kobe has spoken on this topic on a number of occasions in the past, and has given conflicting answers as to where he would have played in college. During an interview in 2007, he suggested that he would have attended Duke, where he could have played at Cameron Indoor Stadium alongside guys like Elton Brand and Corey Maggette. But during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2013, he changed up his story and said that he would have attended North Carolina, not Duke, to play with Vince Carter.
"I love [Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski]," Kobe said at the time. "[But] the truth has to come out."
He went on to say that he wanted to play against Carter, then a member of the Tar Heels, in practice every day, which was why he would have ultimately picked UNC over Duke.
It seems Kobe is changing his story again, though, with regards to the age-old Duke/UNC debate. On Sunday night, a Lakers fan asked Kobe where he thinks he would have gone to college if he had gone that route. And Kobe responded by picking…Duke. Duke? Yes, this is all very confusing, but it sounds like Duke is now Kobe’s final answer.
Kobe also explained why he preferred Duke. After a fan told him UNC would have been a better fit for him, he revealed that then-UNC head coach Dean Smith stopped recruiting the future Laker once Smith found out the NBA was a possibility for Kobe. Coach K, on the other hand, stayed in hot pursuit right up until the very end in an effort to convince Kobe to come to Durham, North Carolina.
Something tells us Kobe’s answer is going to change again at some point in the near future. But for now, Duke fans can look back and play the "what if" game and think about what might have been if Kobe had made a different decision back when he was 18.