The most important caller in D’Angelo Russell’s short Lakers tenure finally reached his cell phone.
Four days after Russell experience elation over the Lakers selecting him with the No. 2 pick of this year’s draft, Kobe Bryant reached him and then peppered him with a compliment.
“He said he heard great things about me,” said Russell earning Big 10 Freshman of the Year honors for averaging 19.3 points and five assists with Ohio State. But instead of reveling in the Lakers’ star praising him, Russell quickly told Bryant something that suggests the two speak the same language.
“I just told him I’m a sponge,” Russell said on Monday at his introductory press conference at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “Whatever he’s willing to teach me, I’m willing to learn.”
Russell then said that entailed “everything,” mindful that Bryant enters his 20th and possibly last NBA season with an extensive resume that includes five NBA championships, a third place on the league’s all-time scoring list and overcoming numerous injuries.
“I always knew he was one of the greatest to play the game,” Russell said of Bryant. “So, just to get this honor to play with him is just remarkable.”