Playing for the Los Angeles Lakers winds up being a dream come true for a large portion of the athletes presented with the opportunity. In the case of D’Angelo Russell, the privilege also bears massive responsibility, as he is expected to become the next face of the franchise after being selected with the No. 2 overall pick over the “safer” choice in Jahlil Okafor.
Obviously, Russell will have some enormous shoes to fill, essentially inheriting the torch from arguably the greatest Laker to ever lace them up, Kobe Bryant. Having such a responsibility for the sixteen-time NBA champions not only warrants lofty expectations on the court, but away from it as well.
The 19-year old will begin his career in the second largest market in the country, while playing for the biggest fan base the league has to offer.
Of course, success on the floor will reap prosperity off it, but with such a young core in place, expecting Russell to rack up a satisfactory amount of wins right from the get-go is asking far too much from the rookie.
However, despite the probable growing pains early on in his career — especially in the win column — Russell has already portrayed the pizzazz and flamboyance to be a superstar in the city of Los Angeles, simply by way of his personality.
His exuberance was on full display at the Panini America NBA Rookie Photo Shoot, headlining the league’s social media outlets in a multitude of ways.
First, fans got their first official look at Russell donning the purple and gold uniform that they hope he wears for a long, long time:
This was merely an appetizer, though, for what came after. The NBA captured a few long-range trick shots from Russell that resemble the amount of dazzle he normally demonstrates with his passing ability:
Yes, he even hit spectators with a patented, Kobe-like fist pump, reminiscent of the one the latter dropped on the Phoenix Suns back in the 2006 playoffs, after burying a Game 4 buzzer-beater for the dramatic victory.
Russell also had some fun off the floor, revisiting his past by reenacting a quote that made him the star of a previous video gone viral:
Then & Now.. @Dloading of the @Lakers! #NBARooks pic.twitter.com/cu70DOIi5f
— NBA (@NBA) August 9, 2015
Russell demanded the spotlight and let his energetic personality shine as he took over the event as the main attraction, a practice that could serve him very well in LA (unless he goes overboard with it and doesn’t pan out on the court).
If he does turn out to be the star Lakers fans anticipate he will become, however, the sky is the limit for Russell on the court, along with his brand off of it.