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Lakers Season Countdown: 28 days, D.J. Mbenga

In this series, we will count down the days until the Lakers first regular season game on October 28th. Each day we will discuss who wore that number best, and who wears it now or who wore it last.

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We're getting ready for a brand new season of Los Angeles Lakers basketball, so to count down the days we'll be looking at the best Lakers to wear the number. We'll continue at 28 days until the regular season begins, with a big man who was more grit, than skill.

Who wore it the best: D.J. Mbenga

(Credit: National Basketball Association, Getty Images)

Didier Ilunga-Mbenga is known in the NBA world simply as D.J. Mbenga. D.J. was born and raised in Zaire, which is today known of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Upon a new regime taking over power, D.J.'s father, a person who worked for the former regime, was persecuted and eventually lost his life in the struggle. However, he did manage to get his wife and son asylum in Belgium, where D.J. was raised from that point on. He was discovered by an international scout, who introduced him to basketball.

The Lakers claimed D.J. off of waivers during the 2007-08 season, and signed him to a 10-day contract. After a second 10-day contract, the Lakers signed him for the rest of the season. D.J. was a member of the Lakers team that won back-to-back championships in 2009 & 2010. While his numbers aren't that impressive, D.J. instantly became a fan favorite for his hustle and relentless effort when he was in the game.

Seasons w/ Lakers








D.J. Mbenga









Who wears it now: Tarik Black

Tarik Black went undrafted in the 2014 draft after playing 3 years at Memphis University and his senior year as a Kansas Jayhawk. He got an invite to play in the summer league for the Houston Rockets and eventually signed with them for the regular season. However, Houston waived Tarik part of the way through the season as they were trying to add Josh Smith to the roster. The LA Lakers claimed Tarik off of waivers for the remainder of the season.

He appeared in 38 games for the Lakers, starting in 27 of them, and averaged 7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and .6 blocks in 21 minutes per game. His season best game came in a win over the Timberwolves, where he posted 18 points and 10 rebounds. Tarik has plenty of opportunity to showcase his skills this year to stake his claim as the best to ever wear #28 for the Lakers.

#28 - Who has worn it:

DJ Mbenga (2008-2010)

Jason Kapono (2012)

Tarik Black (2015)

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