D'Angelo Russell: I started appreciating Kobe Bryant more after I left Lakers
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D'Angelo Russell admitted he really started appreciating Kobe Bryant after he finished his first sting with the Los Angeles Lakers. In the 2015 NBA draft, the Lakers selected Russell at No 2. While Russell was in his rookie season, Bryant was having his farewell and playing the last season of his career.
The Lakers, who decided to move on from Russell in the summer of 2017, traded for Russell prior to the trade deadline. When Russell landed in Los Angeles, he instantly remembered the great Kobe Bryant, who tragically lost his life in early 2020.
"When I reflect on my time in the past, it's all Kobe. All Kobe. Appreciating Kobe when I was here wasn't really something I did because I was young and I was figuring it out. But as soon as I left, I appreciated him more. Now that he's gone, I appreciate him even more.
So when I reflect on that Lakers tenure when I was here, it's all a reflection of him," Russell said, per ESPN.
Russell ready to contribute for the Lakers
With a 25-31 record, the Lakers are the 13th team in the Western Conference standings.
Lakers star big man Anthony Davis has already said that he would like Russell and other additions to instantly step up and help the Lakers turn the page. Reflecting on Davis' comments, Russell suggested that it won't be a problem for him.
"I always feel like I'm an alpha, too. So whatever room I'm in, whoever I'm around, I'm going to feel like that, I'm going to walk like that. And when I get out on the floor, we're going to figure that out as well. I'm going to try to fit into what they got going on, and then try to figure it out from that. I trust my craft, too. So I know whatever position I'm in, I'm going to thrive," Russell said.