D’Angelo Russell can’t stop mentioning Kobe Bryant’s name while reflecting on 1st stint with Lakers

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

Point guard D’Angelo Russell was the Los Angles Lakers’ biggest pre-trade deadline addition earlier this week, and the one-time All-Star sounds very excited to be in L.A. As fans will remember, Russell began his career with the Lakers and was lucky enough to play with Kobe Bryant for one season.

When Russell spoke with members of the media on Friday, he couldn’t help but bring up Bryant and the impact the Lakers legend had on him.

Interestingly, he admitted that he didn’t really appreciate the opportunity that came with playing alongside Bryant at the time, but has appreciated him more and more in recent years.

Bryant’s passing in a tragic helicopter accident took place in January 2020, but the influence that he’s had on the league is still just as fresh as it was during his playing days.

Especially for players in Russell’s generation, Bryant is something of a larger-than-life figure. They all grew up watching him play and idolizing him. Since Bryant died, countless players have come forward to discuss how he influenced and inspired them earlier in their playing days.

Now back with the Lakers, Russell will get a chance to form a new legacy with the team. His first tenure with the Lakers was marred by some immature off-court distractions, but the former Minnesota Timberwolves guard is all business now.

With the Lakers, Russell will likely be expected to serve as the team’s third offensive option behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis. His ability as a shooter will also become highly valuable for the team as it tries to get back into the playoff conversation in the Western Conference.

On the season, Russell is putting up 17.9 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game on 46.5 percent shooting from the field and 39.1 percent shooting from deep.

When it comes to the legacy that Bryant left behind for the Lakers franchise, it primarily has to do with striving to be better and winning championships. Of course, the Hall of Famer helped lead the Lakers to five NBA titles in his career.

From here on out, every NBA title the Lakers win will surely be seen as something of an homage to the excellence and dominance that Bryant himself exhibited.

Russell will undoubtedly look to be a part of one or more NBA titles in his second stint with the storied franchise.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.