It was their second win over the Mavericks which could come in handy should the teams’ records be close at the end of the 2019-20 NBA season and the Lakers also got the win in front of a special guest, Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers legend made another appearance at Staples Center and once again his old team did not disappoint in their performance with him courtside. Along with watching the Lakers, Bryant also got the chance to watch arguably the NBA’s best young All-Star player in Doncic up close and personal. Though the Lakers defense forced Doncic into a rough night overall, he still took a brief moment to acknowledge Bryant during the game.
At one point in the night, Doncic was set to take the ball out right in front of Bryant and turned around to acknowledge him:
Kobe Bryant x Luka Doncic.
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) December 30, 2019
Making the story even better is that what led Doncic to notice Bryant courtside was hearing someone speak his native language.
“He was talking Slovenian,” Doncic said after the game. “So I was like, ‘Who’s talking my language?’ I saw Kobe and was really surprised.”
It is well known that Bryant is fluent in both Spanish and Italian. He and Pau Gasol used to speak to each other in Spanish on the court.
Likewise, Bryant would speak to Sasha Vujacic in Italian during games. Vujacic, who is Slovenian, also recently revealed that his former teammate knew some select colorful words in Serbian that he could use as well.
It certainly seems possible that Vujacic could have taught Bryant a little Slovenian over the years and he threw a few of those words Doncic’s way as he stood in front of him on the baseline. Bryant could really say anything as nobody around them would have known what was being said. The two do have a prior relationship as Doncic did work out with Bryant prior to his rookie season.
Bryant understands talent and knows how good Doncic — one of the leading MVP candidates so far this season — really is. The Lakers made things tough on him, but he was still able to share a moment with Bryant after the game. More importantly, the Lakers undefeated record in front of Bryant remains intact.