LOS ANGELES, California – Kobe can be seen in Las Vegas sporting a Los Angeles team’s uniform. With the buses waiting for him, Kobe is the last player on the floor during practice and is being screamed at.
What a perfect match. just like before.
Of course, Kobe Bryant is unique and will never be duplicated. There will never be another Bryant, and Kobe Brown and Kobe Bufkin will be the first two players at NBA Summer League to say as much. Never would they make such a claim. But fans will soon be able to witness players named Kobe once more for the NBA after the Hall of Famer retired in 2016.
With the Los Angeles Clippers, Brown is participating in the Summer League. In his first season with the Atlanta Hawks, Bufkin. Both bear the name of Bryant, the only Kobe to have ever played in the NBA as of this writing. It appears that will alter in a few months.
How many people go by the name Kobe is tough to determine. It continues to be quite odd.
Until 2020, when Bryant, Gianna, and seven other people perished in a helicopter crash on a foggy Sunday in Southern California, the name continued to be given to a modest number of babies—perhaps a few hundred per year. Another 1,500 boys were given that name in that year, most likely in remembrance of Bryant’s life and work; according to government data, Liam was the most often used name for newborn boys in that year, with about 20,000 occurrences. Several hundred American newborn girls were given the name in 2020 (along with certain variants like Kobee and Kobey).
Take this week’s Summer League practice of the Hawks as an example. The drill was to last 45 minutes, with some shooting to follow. After almost an hour and fifteen minutes, the majority of the participants left the field. A few minutes later, nearly all of them had taken off their shoes and were prepared to board the bus, but Bufkin was still on the floor, practicing drives from half-court against a defender.
Despite dying 3 and a half years ago, the legendary Los Angeles Lakers player continues to enjoy enormous fame.
The Clippers and the Lakers both name Crypto.com Arena their home, but Brown has never been there. It is the venue, then known as the Staples Center, where Bryant spent half of his 20 seasons with the Lakers, recorded his career-high 81 points against Toronto in 2006, and resided during five championship runs and 18 All-Star campaigns.
By selecting Bufkin with the 15th overall pick in the NBA, the Atlanta Hawks made a remarkable selection. Bufkin, a former basketball player for Michigan, joins the Hawks with great hopes. It’s interesting that he has a family tie to the NBA because his brother, Isaiah Thomas, plays basketball professionally.
The Los Angeles Clippers also made their own decision, selecting Missourian Brown with the 30th overall choice. Brown adds depth to the Clippers’ roster by bringing his abilities and potential.
Bufkin and Brown may not be as well-known as the iconic Kobe Bryant, but their choice symbolizes a new strategy for carrying on Bryant’s legacy. Both players will have the chance to forge unique careers in the NBA and support the growth of their respective teams in the future.