By nearly any measure, Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball is a superstar in the eyes of the public. The rookie has his own T.V. show, an eponymous brand that features his own signature shoe and clothing line, and his game is picked apart after every contest as much as any Lakers player since Kobe Bryant.
The way Ball’s game is criticized in the media isn’t the only way he’s becoming comparable to Bryant either.
According to Lakers veteran Corey Brewer, who faced the Lakers plenty of times when Bryant was still playing for the team, he’s begun to see a change in the crowd’s attire that shows the way L.A. is embracing the Ball era with open arms, via Bill Oram of the O.C. Register:
Brewer judges stardom by what fans in the crowd are wearing.
“Everybody’s got Lonzo Ball jerseys,” he said. “You look anywhere. It used to be Kobe jerseys, now it’s Lonzo Ball. You see (No.) 2s everywhere.”
After a stellar college career at UCLA and with the Lakers front office openly touting him as the next face of the franchise, it’s no surprise fans have embraced Ball — who is also a native of Southern California — in a way they haven’t embraced any player since Bryant.
There is obviously no guarantee Ball will ever be anywhere close to as good as Bryant was either, but for now he offers the type of hope the franchise hasn’t had since Bryant hung up his Nikes.
Whether or not Ball can fulfill those hopes, or if the team will rise back to prominence via free agency instead, won’t be determined for a while, but Brewer’s observation makes it clear that right now fans seem to believe Ball is the best chance they have to get back to the level of contention Lakers fans became accustomed to under the player whose jerseys they used to wear.
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