Media Day is the ultimate sign that Los Angeles Lakers basketball is almost here. But before they take on The Brooklyn Nets, their expected Finals opponent, to kick off the preseason on Sunday, it’s time to recap the optimism and fun of Media dDay.
In honor of the Kobe Bryant, who came up a lot throughout the day, and his first No. 8, here are the top eight moments from the Lakers’ 2021 Media Day.
8. Austin Reaves’ Nickname
Austin Reaves showed out in Summer League with stellar defence and a game-winner to boot, but now he’ll be known for another reason as he revealed his nickname: Hillbilly Kobe. Check out the video below or our article for the full story on how the farm kid from Arkansas who grew up watching Kobe became Hillbilly Kobe.
Lakers rookie Austin Reaves' nickname is "Hillbilly Kobe" 😂
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 28, 2021
7. THT With The NBA’s New Greatest Laugh
Before we get into the basketball optimism that reigned supreme on Media Day, Talen Horton-Tucker, with a slim new frame to boot, provided us with a laugh that may surpass Kawhi Leonard’s from 2018 after learning about his new teammate’s nickname. Take a listen below.
THT learning Austin Reaves nickname is “Hillbilly Kobe” is the most wholesome thing you’ll see all day 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/j2xH6SXAQs
— LakeShowScoop (@LakeShowScoop) September 28, 2021
6. Rondo Fake Cries About Being Missed By Former Teammates
One more funny moment: The emotions pour out of Rajon Rondo as he is asked what it means that Anthony Davis and LeBron James wanted him back this year. Rondo will be back for the Lakers after winning the 2020 championship with the team, this time donning the No. 4.
Rondo’s reaction to hearing LeBron and AD missing him last season lmfaooooo pic.twitter.com/OHVO6ye5mx
— LakeShowScoop (@LakeShowScoop) September 28, 2021
5. Dwight Howard Talks About Chemistry
Although Dwight Howard is known for his off-court antics, which there were plenty of during his press conference, as much as his on-court defensive dominance, he had one of the most brilliant points of the day. Everyone talks about how chemistry needs to be built, but this is where the Lakers’ age can be a huge advantage because the Lakers’ six future Hall of Famers have all matched up and played against each other for at least a decade.
“I think that because we’re a lot older as soon as they said all of us were going to be on the same team I knew that our chemistry was going to be great because like I said earlier we all love the game of basketball,” Howard said. “We love to compete; very passionate about what we do. This is why all of us have been in the league for so long. The average NBA career is three to four years. You got 17 years, 18 years, 19 years, 14 years, 15 years. You got guys who’ve been playing… who’ve exceeded what everybody said we would. It just shows the love and the passion that we have for what we do and I think that’s what’s going to keep our chemistry together: the love that we have for the game, how passionate and how hard we work to be successful.
4.Carmelo Anthony is Finally A Laker
No one can make photoshops come true and Carmelo Anthony had been photoshopped into a Lakers jersey with LeBron James all throughout the summer of 2014 when they were both free agents. Now, the two remaining members of the 2003 draft class and long-time friends are finally teammates, but Anthony was quick to mention that knows the greatest Laker of them all and another long-time friend of Melo, Kobe Bean Bryant, is smiling down on that fact.
3.Russell Westbrook In Awe of Playing Under Kobe’s Jerseys
Russell Westbrook lives and breathes Los Angeles. The L.A. native has finally returned home after trying for nearly two years. Growing up in Los Angeles, Bryant was Westbrook’s idol so it’s no wonder he was in awe of donning the Purple and Gold playing under his idol’s jersey numbers.
Russell Westbrook wants to make Kobe proud while being back home and putting on the Lakers' uniform 🙌
— ESPN (@espn) September 30, 2021
2. LeBron Says He Wants Russ to be Russ
The meeting between James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook over the summer could go down as a historic moment in NBA history as the three talked about how they would work together in hopes of winning banner 18 for the Lakers. LeBron spoke to this on Media Day.
“As far as Russ, we need Russ to be Russ,” James said at Lakers Media Day. “We don’t need Russ to change for anybody, that’s why we got him. That’s our job to all help him feel comfortable in our system and he’s gonna be as dynamic as he’s always been. So I look forward to that.”
1. Anthony Davis Talks About Playing Center
The sweetest words to come out of Media Day involved Davis’ willingness to finally play center this season. The unicorn big man was born to be a center in this era and Lakers fans will finally get to see him unlocked.
“I expect to play center,” Davis said at Lakers Media Day. “I’m not sure exactly what’s going to happen, me and Frank [Vogel] have talked about it a couple times and that’s the plan.
“Right now, nothing is set in stone, but we want to see what that looks like and I’m comfortable with that. Obviously, there will be times where Dwight [Howard] or [DeAndre Jordan] might get to start at center depending on games, but for the most part, I think the plan is to go with me playing center.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!