Even with strong performances from D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and Kobe Bryant in the Los Angeles Lakers' 113-95 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, the play of the night might have come from Larry Nance, Jr. The son of the inaugural slam dunk champion showed off the prodigious hops that have made him a fan favorite just months after his selection in the 2015 draft was almost universally maligned when he ruthlessly posterized Bucks center John Henson.
Bryant was seen celebrating the jam with Nance, Jr., but after the games demurred, telling Bill Oram of the OC Register to ask the rookie what Bryant had told him, saying that he wanted to see the Nance, Jr. "uncomfortable." The Los Angeles media are never ones to shy away from an important story like this one, and so they followed up with Nance, Jr. after the Lakers' Wednesday practice. The (probably cleaned up for language) version of the answer may surprise you:
Larry Nance Jr. on what Kobe told him after dunk: "He said when I grow up, I'll be able to do that on Dwight Howard." ...Lakers-Rockets Thur— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) December 16, 2015
Bryant was of course probably referring to a poster of his own from back in the day, when #8 gave a young Dwight Howard his "welcome to the league" moment:
Nance, Jr. sounds like he is going to give it his best shot:
So will Nance Jr. try to dunk on Dwight? Nance Jr: "If they feel like throwing me the ball, I'll do my best to dunk it."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 16, 2015
It is interesting to hear Kobe encouraging Nance, Jr. to do this just days after telling reporters that he and Howard were "cool." Maybe they are, but I guess Bryant would also think it was pretty cool if Nance, Jr. wanted to have a "welcome to the league" moment of his own at Dwight's expense.