During his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Jordan Clarkson had the unique privilege to learn from and playing alongside one of the greatest players in NBA history. Clarkson learned as much as possible while being Kobe Bryant’s teammate in Los Angeles and as a result has quickly become one of the best players on the Lakers roster.
Recently, Clarkson sat down for an interview with Michelle FlorCruz of Asia Society and talked about interacting with the Filipino-American community as well as playing with Bryant in the last two seasons of his NBA career. Clarkson emphasized the impact Bryant had on him during his time with the Lakers:
Great. Greatness. There’s really no other way to describe it. Everyone knows that Kobe is one of the best players of all time, and being able to learn the game through his eyes is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in basketball. It was special being a rookie and stepping onto the court with him, but it was even more special being able to be a part of his final season. I’ve learned so many things from him that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Back in 2014, after selecting Julius Randle with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Lakers were eager to add another young player to the roster. Los Angeles purchased a second-round pick from the Washington Wizards and ultimately ended up with Clarkson with the 46th pick in the draft.
Acquiring Clarkson turned out to be a brilliant move for the Lakers. Clarkson has far exceeded expectations since coming to Los Angeles two years ago and is expected to receive a considerable pay raise this summer as a restricted free agent.
The Lakers brass has made it clear that they want Clarkson in the fold for the foreseeable future. As long as no problem arises in contract negotiations and the team sticks to the stance of wanting to re-sign Clarkson, the 23-year-old will continue to be one of the team’s bright young stars along with Randle, D’Angelo Russell, and Larry Nance Jr.