Lakers: Rui Hachimura Chose His Wizards Jersey Number In Part Due To LA Great

That great’s jersey is retired in LA, so he had to pivot.

New Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura recently spoke with Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet about his arrival in LA. Through his first two contests for the Lakers, the 6’8″ combo forward out of Gonzaga is averaging nine points on 46.7% shooting, five rebounds, one assist and 0.5 steals.

“My agent was talking about [a trade to LA being possible] a couple days before everything happened but I wasn’t really sure [it would go down],” Hachimura told Trudell. Everything happened so quick.”

When asked to explain his first NBA jersey number while with the Wizards, Hachimura revealed that it was indeed done in tribute to Bryant:

“It was because of Kobe, and also, my name, ‘Hachimura,’ means ‘No. 8’ in Japanese. So that’s why I wore the No. 8.”

“[Bryant has been an inspiration] since I started playing basketball. [At age] 13 I started playing basketball, I watched him a lot.”

Both of Bryant’s jerseys, Nos. 8 and 24, have been retired by the Lakers. The 6’6″ shooting guard, an 18-time All-Star and 15-time All-NBA Team honoree, spent his entire 20-year career with Los Angeles. During that run, he helped lead the club to seven NBA Finals appearances, including five titles.

Now with LA, Hachimura has changed his jersey to No. 28. Considering that the Lakers’ All-Star frontcourt of LeBron James and Anthony Davis will sit out tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, there’s a chance Hachimura will get to enjoy more run and touches with his new team Monday.

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