Lordy, Lordy, Kobe's 40. Three years after his retirement — and 20 stellar seasons leading the Lakers — the man they call Mamba is tiptoeing toward middle-age. But as these pictures show, Bryant doesn't look so far removed from the fresh-faced teenage superstar who took the NBA by storm in the fall of 1996. As he celebrates the milestone birthday, a look back at the early days of the Laker legend (and famous Virgo!).Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ALL-AMERICAN Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage PROM DATE
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