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Rui Hachimura's No. 28 Lakers Jersey Pays Tribute to Kobe and Gigi Bryant

As the first trade ahead of the NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Japanese star forward Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards. In a recent interview with ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith, Lakers owner Jeannie Buss revealed the reasons for Hachimura choosing the number No. 28 for his Lakers jersey.

"I asked him, have you chosen a number yet? He said, 'Yeah, I'm wearing No. 28.' I said, 'Oh great!' and he said 'Because of No. 2 for Gianna [Gigi Bryant] and No. 8 for Kobe.' I was like, 'This kid is going to do good.' I like where his heart is at," said Buss.

Back on the Wizards, Hachimura wore the number 8 jersey after Kobe Bryant, citing the Lakers great as the reason he began playing basketball. Both No. 8 and No. 24 were retired by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017 in honor of Bryant's contributions to the team and basketball.

Hachimura has quickly found his footing on the Lakers roster, posting a net rating of +33.4 when on the floor with LeBron James who's been supportive of the fellow 6'8 forward. Over the last five games with the Lakers, Hachimura is currently averaging 12.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists

In other news, here are the official 2023 NBA All-Star starters.