Twenty years and five championships later, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant can still feel the burn when he remembers what happened in 1996.
And he won't let the Charlotte Hornets forget it.
The Hornets selected him with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft but traded him to the Lakers less than a week later. According to Bryant, they told him it was because they "had no use" for him. Big mistake. Huge.
But that moment is a part of Bryant, and the anger and rejection he felt have continued to motivate him to this day. He said as much on Facebook on Tuesday night: "June 26, 1996... They told me they had no use for me. Rejection and anger fueled me. #HeroVillan #KB20."
It's something the Black Mamba has never forgotten. Not during his rookie season, not in 2014 and not on the eve of his final game.