Rui Hachimura Chose New Jersey Number To Pay Homage To Kobe & Gianna Bryant
When the Washington Wizards decided to select Rui Hachimura with their 9th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Hachimura became the first Japanese player ever taken in the first round.
Ever since, Rui has become a global ambassador of the game. This status has obviously led to him becoming a bigger celebritiy than most young players.
Last week, Hachumura was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for veteran guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks.
During a recent interview with Stephen A. Smith, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss revealed that Hachimura, who is a huge Kobe Bryant fan, chose his New Jersey number because he wanted to honor Bryant and his late daughter Gianna.
“Our new player, Hachimura … I asked him: Have you chosen a number yet? He said: ‘Yeah, I’m wearing No. 28.’ I said, ‘Oh great!’ and he said ‘Because of No. 2 for Gianna and No. 8 for Kobe.’” I was like, ‘This kid is going to do good.’ I like where his heart is at.”