NBA’s great photographer recalls stories on Kobe Bryant


It seems like Andrew D. Bernstein has been around the NBA forever. Through the years, Bernstein shot many classic, even cult NBA photos that are still covering walls in houses.

Bernstein was in Barcelona with the 1992 Dream Team. He with the U.S. Olympic basketball team in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012. He has covered over 30 NBA finals and 30 All-Star games through the years. He has photographed Magic and Bird, Kobe and Shaq, LeBron and Wade. He was there when Jordan leaped from the free throw line during the 1988 dunk content. He was there when Jordan cried while holding his first championship trophy, his father by his side.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Bernstein recalled what Kobe Bryant was like, when he first came into the NBA. Bernstein recalled how he met Kobe the rookie at his first media day.

“So i have a couple stations set up to do headshots and portraits, and [Kobe] makes his way over to me, and I go to introduce myself, and say ‘Kobe, I’m Andy. I’m the Lakers’ NBA photographer.” And he’s shaking my hand and he says ‘Oh, so you’re Andy Bernstein?’ And I say, ‘Yeah …’ and he says, ‘I had all your posters hanging in my room growing up.’ And I’m like, ‘Really?’”

“Here is a kid with the presence of mind in this crazy media situation to recognize …” he said as he trailed off, “Who reads the photo credit on a poster? It just tells me what kind of guy this is.”

Bernstein further said that Bryant asked him for photos of NBA legends for motivation while out with injuries.

“He has a habit of asking for photos of his muses … of Magic and Jordan and Bird and guys [in which] he always admired something about their game, that he’s taken from each of those guys and applied to himself,” he said.

“I think it was more helpful to him while he was sort of recovering and rehabbing from his injuries to keep his motivation level going.”

Kobe Bryant retired from the NBA following a 20-year career with the LA Lakers. Bryant was a 18-time NBA All-Star and won 5 NBA championships with the Lakers. He played in 1346 NBA games (started 1198), averaging 25 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 4.7 apg in 36.1 mpg. According to Basketball Reference, Bryant earned over $300 million over his NBA career.

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