Never-before-seen photos of Kobe Bryant in high school before he became Lakers legend

In the five days since Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others perished in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, millions have paid tribute to the former Lakers star on social media by sharing a photo of Bryant from his playing days.

Below are images that USA TODAY Sports uncovered from a 1995 photo shoot during Bryant’s high school days at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Eleven of these photos were never published. 

Here they are, 25 years after Bryant participated in the All-USA photo shoot. The 13 stills, all of Bryant wearing his classic No. 33 jersey, were taken by former USA TODAY staff photographer Eileen Blass. 

WHAT TO EXPECT:Lakers take court for first time since tragedy

HIGH SCHOOL COACH:Lower Merion coach Gregg Downer reflects on losing his ‘hero’

JERSEY TRIBUTE:Clippers keep the lights on Kobe during games

For more on the Kobe Bryant tragedy, including how the Lakers plan to celebrate their former star in their return to the court on Friday, check out nba.usatoday.com.

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