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School Buzzes Over Kobe Engagement

May 20, 2000

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ A Southern California high school is buzzing with the news that an 18-year-old student is engaged to Kobe Bryant, the 21-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star.

Rumors swirled Friday after Bryant confirmed he was engaged to marry Vanessa Laine, a student at Marina High School.

At the home in Huntington Beach where the fiancee lives with her grandparents, her grandfather confirmed the engagement.

``When you are young, you are very idealistic,″ the elder Laine said. ``She seems happy.″

Talk also centered on the seven-carat ring Bryant reportedly gave his fiancee.

Seven carats, according to Sandy Fredlund, manager of an Orange County Zales jewelry store, is the size of a nickel, maybe even a quarter, and probably cost about $100,000.

``I was thinking about that ring all the way into work this morning,″ Fredlund said. ``The largest thing I have in my store is a two-carat. And that’s big. This is huge.″

The couple met when Bryant stopped by a music video shoot where Laine was working as a background model, said Marina High drama teacher Robert Rotenberry.

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