With the Los Angeles Lakers set to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight, rookie guard Zach LaVine will get to see his childhood idol Kobe Bryant, up close and personal for the first time in his career.
LaVine grew up watching Bryant and played his college ball at nearby UCLA. Despite being excited to play against him, however, LaVine says he has to go at Kobe tonight in an interview on NBA.com:
That was my childhood idol, but now that I’m on the same court as him I know I’ve just got to go at him. He’s going to go everybody. Kobe is going to do Kobe stuff out there. I just can’t get in awe of it when I’m out there on the court.
And when LaVine does attack Bryant, he admittedly will be using some moves that he emulated from Bryant himself:
I feel like Kobe is one of the greatest ever so of course I try to model some of my game after him just like I’m sure everybody does to some degree. He wasn’t just my favorite player. I know he was a favorite for a lot of these guys growing up.
The new generation of NBA players were born in the mid-1990s which means they grew up as Kobe was becoming one of the best players in the NBA. Most NBA players at least watched Bryant growing up, even if they didn’t idolize him.
LaVine will definitely be relied upon as the Timberwolves come to Staples Center tonight. With starting guards Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin hurt, LaVine has been inserted into the starting lineup and will be heavily relied upon as the 3-10 T-Wolves try to get a road win in Los Angeles.[divide]
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