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Jalen Hood-Schifino calls it ‘crazy’ to be drafted by Lakers, grew up Kobe Bryant fan

In a good ole feel-good story, the newly-drafted Laker Jalen Hood-Schifino spoke on Thursday about being a childhood Kobe Bryant fan.

2023 NBA Draft Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Jalen Hood-Schifino may have grown up on the east coast, but he’s long been a Lakers fan. The No. 17 pick spoke to the media after being drafted on Thursday and shared his reaction to being selected by the purple and gold.

“It’s honestly really crazy and kind of hard to say how I feel because growing up I was a big Kobe fan,” Hood-Schifino. “I was always watching his videos, watching the Lakers. For me to get drafted by the Lakers is kind of surreal and kind of crazy.

“Like I said, I’m thankful to the organization and I’m super excited”

Hood-Schifino isn’t just talking the talk here, as there’s a trail of examples of him being a Laker fan. The Lakers themselves tweeted out a picture of Hood-Schifino holding up a photo of himself as a child in Lakers gear.

In more recent years, when he committed to Indiana in the fall of 2021, Hood-Schifino’s video featured him wearing a Kobe jersey. The day of his commitment? 8/24.

You can throw out the cliches of “knowing what it means to be a Laker” at this point, and they’d be met with deserved eye rolls, but there’s always something fun about watching a player get drafted to the team he was a fan of.

This draft, in particular, felt heavily influenced by Kobe with two other prospects named Kobe in Michigan guard Kobe Bufkin and Missouri forward Kobe Brown. We are in the middle of a generation of players that grew up inspired by Kobe.

Hood-Schifino will get his chance now to play under the same lights of Kobe, which has to be a dream come true.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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