The Los Angeles Lakers traded for Rui Hachimura in late January, essentially being the first domino to fall in what would be an active deadline. L.A. was able to acquire the forward from the Washington Wizards for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks; the Lakers were taking a chance on a young player who hadn’t quite proven himself yet.
When Hachimura first came to the team, playoff aspirations were low and fans weren’t quite sure if things were going to turn around. The trade deadline passed and the Lakers had a complete roster overhaul, however, finally giving them pieces that fit around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
After surviving the Play-In Tournament and earning a first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, Hachimura took his game to another level. The 25-year-old led the team in scoring with 29 points with 5-for-6 from downtown, stealing Game 1 in Memphis, which ultimately resulted in the Lakers advancing and eventually making it to the Western Conference Finals.
However, the former Gonzaga Bulldog revealed that his first sport was baseball and did not want to play basketball until his junior high school teammates forced him to try it, via Lakers:
“Baseball was my first sport, I played baseball for six years. I was 13-years-old when I switched to basketball. First memory I had was I didn’t want to play basketball, the teammates back then in junior high school, they really wanted me to play basketball because I was you know, tall, whatever, I was athletic. I just didn’t think basketball was good for me because I didn’t really like to run. They were so annoying it got to the point I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m just going to go one time for practice.’ And I went the one time and for some reason, yeah, I fell in love.”
Then the rest was history for Hachimura as he would be a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and now plays for one of the most storied franchises in the Lakers, being a key reason why they made it to the Conference Finals.
Hachimura was a top priority for the Lakers in free agency in terms of bringing him back to the team and he would quickly re-sign with L.A. on a three-year, $51 million contract. Who knows if the forward would have been better at baseball, but it seems like he chose the right career path.
Austin Reaves reveals James’ annual minicamp took place in San Diego & everybody attended
With training camp beginning next week, James held his annual players-only minicamp last weekend. It was revealed by Austin Reaves that the camp took place in San Diego and every player was in attendance for it, which is great to hear.
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