Given that Kobe Bryant is no longer a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, it seems somewhat strange to ask how he feels the team should respond to LiAngelo Ball and his desire to join his brother Lonzo in purple and gold when the 2018 NBA Draft rolls around.
Still, given Bryant’s connection to his former agent and current Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, it’s theoretically possible that he would have thoughts on the move.
However, ambushing him on the street with a camera wouldn’t seem like the best way to get his most thoughtful answer on the topic, but Bryant was polite enough to answer TMZ Sports anyway:
Kobe was leaving ABC Studios in New York City when we straight-up asked, “With the [NBA Draft coming up], what do you want the Lakers to do?”
Kobe’s response ... “Win.”
That’s when we asked about LaVar Ball’s plan to get LiAngelo Ball to the Lake Show ... joining his brother, Lonzo.
Kobe shrugged at the idea and said, “If it’ll help win.”
To be clear from watching the video linked above, they are not kidding when they say Kobe shrugged. And by shrugged, I mean paused for several seconds before begrudgingly giving the “if it’ll help win” answer in a tone that made it very clear he didn’t seem to think it would help win as he escaped into his car.
In fact, distilled down to its full dismissive essence, Bryant’s answer was essentially the revolutionary thought that the Lakers should draft good players who will help them win. What a novel concept!
Regardless of how Bryant feels, it seems unlikely that LiAngelo will be drafted by the Lakers, especially when considering he has been left out of the top-100 prospects in most mock drafts and appears to be widely considered a gamble even at the G League level.
However, if the Lakers think all of that conventional wisdom is wrong and LiAngelo can help them win, it appears they have Bryant’s blessing if it actually works.