The Los Angeles Lakers front office had been coming under fire for their lack of action throughout the season so far. From Rob Pelinka even up to owner Jeanie Buss, many fans were calling on someone to get the Lakers to make a move to improve the roster. That time finally came when the Lakers traded for forward Rui Hachimura.
So far, the fourth-year player has been solid in his time with the Lakers, showing flashes of his skill set and giving the team another big body to put out on the court. In Washington, Hachimura wore No. 8, but that obviously isn’t a possibility with the Lakers because of the late, great Kobe Bryant. Hachimura would choose No. 28, but that was not just a random selection.
Jeanie Buss recently appeared on the Know Mercy Podcast with Stephen A. Smith, and revealed that Hachimura chose the number 28 in order to honor both Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna:
“Our new player, Hachimura … I asked him: Have you chosen a number yet? He said: ‘Yeah, I’m wearing No. 28.’ I said, ‘Oh great!’ and he said ‘Because of No. 2 for Gianna and No. 8 for Kobe.’” I was like, ‘This kid is going to do good.’ I like where his heart is at.”
It is truly a wonderful thing for Hachimura to do and once again shows the impact that Kobe Bryant had on so many people. Hachimura grew up in Japan and it is well known how popular Kobe was in that area of the world, plus, as Hachimura said previously, the Lakers are the most popular team in Japan so he undoubtedly grew up watching the Lakers legend.
The jersey choice is a touching one, and something that was also done previously during that 2020 season after Kobe’s tragic passing. Guard Quinn Cook changed his number mid-season to 28 with that same thought of honoring both Kobe and Gianna Bryant.
Now the Lakers will be looking for Hachimura to embrace that ‘Mamba Mentality’ and thrive in his new role with the Lakers. Kobe was all about winning and as long as Hachimura can contribute to that, he will be honoring Bryant in the best way possible.
Rui Hachimura believes transition to Lakers has gone great so far
Hachimura is coming off his best game in a Lakers uniform with 19 points and nine rebounds in the team’s overtime victory over the New York Knicks. While it has only been four games with his new team, Hachimura believes the transition to his new surroundings is going great so far.
The newest Laker spoke about both coaches and teammates helping him through things and going over film with him to help him learn the concepts the Lakers use. Hachimura said things have been great so far, but knows he still has plenty to learn going forward.
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