The current wave of young NBA players grew up watching the generation of players that have retired in recent years like Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, etc.
For that reason, it made last season when Bryant retired that much more special, as many of the young players had the pleasure of meeting him and playing against him one last time before his retirement.
One player who didn’t get that opportunity is Lakers rookie forward Brandon Ingram, who was still in college at Duke.
In a sense Ingram has replaced Bryant on the Lakers roster though, as he uses Bryant’s locker and has taken up a lot of the minutes that Bryant left behind.
On Wednesday Ingram answered fans questions on the Lakers official Twitter account, and he said that growing up Bryant was his favorite player:
Brandon Ingram says his favorite player of all-time is Kobe Bryant because of "the attitude and mentality of everything he does."
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 28, 2016
Bryant had an opportunity to see Ingram play last year at Duke, as he attended the Sweet Sixteen match-ups at the Honda Center in Anaheim when Duke lost to Oregon.
After seeing him play Bryant said he was very impressed with Ingram as he plays with a lot of poise and knows how to use his length.
Much like Bryant in his rookie year with the Lakers, Ingram has come off the bench most of the season and has struggled a bit particularly with his shot.
Ingram is averaging 7.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 34.9 percent from the field. In his rookie season Bryant averaged 7.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 41.7 percent from the field, so the numbers for the two are quite similar.
Bryant, of course, went on to become one of the best basketball players of all-time in his 20-year Laker career, which remains to be seen with Ingram.