Jordan Clarkson's rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers was the best part of last season, but before he goes through his second Las Vegas Summer League, he stopped by The Players' Tribune to write about his first year in the NBA. Jordan also gives his biggest piece of advice to the incoming rookie class, that Christmas Day missed layup, and the "incredible learning experience" he had with Kobe Bryant.
Jordan recalled his first "welcome to the NBA" moment was one of the many times that Kobe cooked him during training camp. Bryant was making his return from a season-ending knee injury and was shaking the rust off. Unfortunately for Clarkson, he was the one who had to pay the price (via The Players' Tribune):
It wasn't even preseason yet, but Kobe was going full speed. Somehow he made it look as if he was just gliding around. I don't think he had played all summer due to his injury, but he still killed everyone. The first possession, he caught the rock along the baseline and hit a turn-around jumper in my face ... a shot I've seen him hit literally a thousand times on TV.
"Hey, don't hurt yourself, young fella," Kobe uttered to me.
It was one of my "Welcome to the NBA" moments. I experienced a few of those moments during my rookie year. I had the unenviable task of guarding Kobe throughout training camp. There aren't too many guys who get an opportunity to sit down, talk to Kobe and actually pick his brain, but I was afforded this privilege. It was an incredible learning experience for me, to say the least. For all the stories you hear about Kobe talking trash and demanding a lot from his teammates, on many occasions he's picked us up, too. He leads by example; however, you don't hear about that much in the media.
And here's a Vine of that moment he's specifically talking about:
Clarkson's rookie duties included carrying a baby in a pink stroller, calling Nick Young "Daddy Swag," and dropping off uniforms in the morning. He also spoke highly of the team chemistry, with Carlos Boozer and Nick Young going out of their way to keep the new guys involved throughout the year.
It's a very interesting read from one of the talented players the Lakers hope can lead them into the future. Check it out over at The Players' Tribune for a nice window into his year.