Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on his clutch performance in FIBA World Cup: ‘Kobe was with me’

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Former NBA player Rondae Hollis-Jefferson said that Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was with him down the stretch of Jordan’s game against New Zealand in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Hollis-Jefferson had a fantastic game, scoring 39 points in the team’s overtime loss to New Zealand. He forced overtime with a crazy four-point play.

“Man, I just wanted to win,” said Hollis-Jefferson. “Everything said shoot it, and that’s what I did.”

During the game, Hollis-Jefferson received “Kobe” chants from the crowd, as he was wearing No. 24 for Jordan. The former 2015 first-round pick commented on what those chants meant to him.

“It means a lot, it’s an honor,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “There definitely was only one Kobe, but to feel that love and that energy coming down the stretch, hitting those big shots – God was with me, and Kobe was with me, for sure.”

It’s great to see Hollis-Jefferson honor Bryant, who tragically passed away in a helicopter accident in January of 2020. The Hall of Fame guard was known for his many clutch performances, so it’s natural that Hollis-Jefferson’s clutch play was compared to that of Bryant.

In fact, Hollis-Jefferson had some moves in the game that were reminiscent of the Lakers legend’s.

Hollis-Jefferson is putting himself back on the international stage during the 2023 FIBA World Cup with his performance against New Zealand, which could be a good sign for him getting another shot in the NBA.

The No. 23 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft has not played in the NBA since the 2020-21 season. Hollis-Jefferson began his career with the Brooklyn Nets, playing there for four seasons.

He then spent time with the Toronto Raptors in the 2019-20 season before playing the 2020-21 campaign with the Portland Trail Blazers – the same team that drafted him back in 2015.

During his six-year NBA career, Hollis-Jefferson averaged 9.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 21.2 percent from beyond the arc.

While the veteran forward wouldn’t have as big of a role on an NBA team as he does for Jordan during the 2023 FIBA World Cup, it’s possible that he could contribute at the NBA level – if he wants to return to the league.

Either way, Hollis-Jefferson will always have his World Cup moment where he was compared to one of the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.