Lakers News: Rob Pelinka Calls It ‘Special’ Seeing NBA Draftees Named After Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant, Jeanie Buss, Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka, Lakers
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The front office of the Los Angeles Lakers led by general manager Rob Pelinka were hard at work on the night of the 2023 NBA Draft. The team ultimately came away with Jalen Hood-Schifino and Maxwell Lewis as their selections on that night, but there were a couple of other prospects whom some thought they might come away with that could have made for a nice story considering they were named after Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Michigan guard Kobe Bufkin, who was thought to be a potential target of the Lakers if they traded up, ended up being selected two picks before the Lakers were on the clock, going 15th overall to the Atlanta Hawks. Missouri wing Kobe Brown would then be selected at the end of the first round, 30th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers.

Both of these players were named after Kobe Bryant and this was something that was brought up to Pelinka, one of Kobe’s closest friends. Pelinka noted how this was proof of the impact Kobe had on people and believes there will be more players in the future named after the Lakers legend, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:

“It’s an honor that so many people have been impacted, like all of us, by Kobe, that people are honoring their children and choosing that name. We’ll probably see more and more of that because it’s such a special thing.”

It really helps that Kobe was such a unique name at the time. While it seems common now as it has been apart of everyones lives since the 90s, there weren’t a lot of Kobes walking around. So when you see them now it is more likely than not that they were named after the late, great Lakers legend.

As Pelinka noted, it really shows how Bryant impacted so many people in his time. Not only his amazing talent and immense success, but that Mamba Mentality that so many have embraced in all walks of life.

There are two new Kobes in the NBA and hopefully there aren’t crazy expectations for either Brown or Bufkin to live up to the name that is Kobe Bryant. But it does serve as a little reminder to how important the Lakers legend was.

Rob Pelinka says it was ‘easy’ for Lakers to select Jalen Hood-Schifino at 17

But of course, Pelinka was most excited about who the Lakers drafted themselves and he believes they have a keeper in Hood-Schifino.

When asked about him, Pelinka said that he was a ‘lottery-level talent’ and noting the great size he has as a guard along with his basketball IQ. Pelinka added that it was an easy choice to take him when he was still on the board when the Lakers were on the clock.

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