It’s almost hard to find words to describe how amazing this photo is. This picture was taken in 1998 when 19 year old Kobe made a cameo appearance on All That.
As amazing as the above video is* because of the same reasons I’m about to address, I want to focus on the photo more because of Kenan and Kel and their role in my taste for comedy I acquired at a young age.
*Kobe has been in my life since I was in 1st grade. I’m about to graduate from college next year… Wow.
The people in this picture impacted my life as a seven year old by making me laugh, helping me dream about life aspirations, and gave me a lot of great memories. And as weird as it is to think, all of these individuals still cross into my life fourteen years later.**
**Some more than others. The guy in the Lakers gear has had a bit of a longer run than the actors.
HOW THIS PHOTO MAKES ME THINK ABOUT MY CHILDHOOD
-Kenan and Kel was one of my favorite television shows growing up. But to be fair, who didn’t love that program.
-Afro-Kobe was THE COOLEST guy in the NBA right after Jordan left. While MJ was still in the league in ’98, who didn’t have a Yellow #8 Champion Lakers Jersey hanging in their closet?***
-I doubt anyone on earth made me laugh more from my childhood then Kel.****
-In second grade, we had to do a book report on a famous person. Many of my classmates did theirs on Presidents, Inventors, and Civil Rights Leaders. I did mine on, you guessed it, KOBE! (Dave Chappelle Voice)*****
-SNICK was the greatest form of kids television programming that ever existed. I can vividly remember going over to my friends houses and watching with them or at home with my little brother as we anxiously awaited for Rugrats to lead off the block at 8:00, or when the Spice Girls hosted and we all thought it was the most important thing ever… because when you’re six or seven, it was.
-Kobe was annointed the next NBA Superstar. Everywhere the guy went, the media followed. But what can you except from a kid who took Brandy to his senior prom, who’s smile lit up the room, and who never went away from the spotlight. From the 1998 All Star Game, where he and MJ put on a show, but 19 year old Kobe put on the biggest and flashiest show on basketball’s biggest stage, Madison Square Garden.***** Not only did Kobe score the most points for the West (18, second in the game to only Jordan’s 23), he started the exhibition when he DIDN’T EVEN START FOR THE LAKERS! THAT’s how popular Kobe was in the Association.*******
-Kenan and Kel built off their All That success and stared on their own show Kenan and Kel. The show had three full seasons of magical television for any kid that my generation all looks back on fondly. Who still doesn’t quote the Who loves orange soda? phrase anytime they even hear the drink mentioned. Plus, Kobe isn’t their only run in with an NBA player. Remember when Ron Harper was on the show?
-Kobe was everywhere off the court as well. Not only did he appear on All That, but he was all over television commercials around this time. Sprite, McDonalds, Adidas. He was playing in the game you would watch, the highlight reel in the postgame, and the commercials in between breaks. Plus, his jacket is awesome in this photo.
***Not only did I have the Yellow jersey, but I had the Purple away one as well. Still in my closet to this very day. If you know me and my obsessive desire to own every jersey known to man, this shouldn’t surprise you in the least.
****But why does Kel look like a black Vince McMahon with that wig in this picture?
*****We had another book report due later that year on another famous person. Again, incredibly important people who have shaped the world were selected by my classmates. Me… GRANT HILL! (Not the same as saying KOBE!). Can you tell that I’ve wanted to work in sports my whole life yet?
******The move Kobe puts on at 4:25 makes me ooh and I’ve watched it countless times over 13 years. Still gets me with the crowd and Costas reaction.
*******Eddie Jones’ spot in the LA starting five was soon gone when next season, he was moved to the 6th man role and eventually traded to the Charlotte Hornets for Glen Rice in a multiplayer deal.
WHERE THEY’RE AT NOW?
-Kobe is now a five time NBA Champion, has been to 14 All Star Games, and is about to most likely go win his second olympic gold medal. He’s got a shoe deal with Nike, countless endorsements, and is widely considered now to be one of the ten best players in basketball history.
-Kenan and Kel last appeared on Nickelodeon together in 2000 when their show finished. The two have yet to appear in anything else together and don’t seem to be as close as they once were. While each has both had work come their way, Kenan has gotten the biggest job out of the two of them, as he became a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Kenan won a spot on the show after auditioning for it in 2003 against who else, but Kel. Mitchell wasn’t selected for the cast while Kenan has been a regular cast member ever since the 2005-06 season when he was promoted from the featuring cast that he was a part of for two seasons. Their old Nickelodeon shows, though, continue to air to this day on Nick on The 90s are All That, where I myself and many other fans continue to watch and laugh like we did in our younger years.
Thanks to @si_vault for the photo.