Rui Hachimura has made a strong impression on the court as he’s adjusted to life as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Through four games in purple and gold, the fourth-year forward is averaging 13.3 points on over 52 percent shooting while the Lakers have won his 113 minutes by 16 points. Acquired from the Wizards in a January trade, Hachimura has given the Lakers a sorely needed body at forward, and after starting the past two games, he will likely remain a starter for the rest of the season.
But Hachimura is endearing himself to Lakers fans in more ways than just his play. In Washington, he wore the No. 8. With the Lakers, that number was obviously retired for Kobe Bryant, so what did Hachimura pick as his new number when he arrived in Los Angeles? No. 28, a move that, according to team owner Jeanie Buss, was made to honor both Kobe and his daughter Gianna Bryant.
“Our new player, Hachimura, I met him, and I asked him, ‘Have you chosen a number yet?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I’m wearing No. 28,”http://www.cbssports.com/” Buss told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, great!’ And he said, ‘Because of No. 2 for Gianna and No. 8 for Kobe.”http://www.cbssports.com/”
Kobe and Gianna Bryant died in a helicopter accident in January 2020, but they remain beloved by Lakers fans to this day.
Both of Kobe Bryant’s uniform numbers, No. 8 and No. 24, have been retired by the team. Hachimura has a long way to go before he can see his number raised into the Crypto.com Arena rafters, but so far, he’s at least off to a good start.