Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Yasiel Puig had another first last night: his first Los Angeles Lakers game. Puig was seated in the second row with Lakers president Jeanie Buss as he and Dodgers president Stan Kasten took in opening night at Staples Center.
Puig posed for pictures with fans, took pictures with Phil Jackson and Magic Johnson while also taking in his first NBA game. It was someone seated directly across from him that everyone wants to know about and that’s his relationship with Kobe Bryant. The two stars shared a moment during the game, but according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA.com, the two had a moment after as well:
Every account I’ve heard is that the two men had a long, substantive conversation in which Bryant told Puig to let nothing stand in the way of him getting every ounce out of his talent.
During an off-day during the Dodgers season, Puig visited the Lakers practice facility where he and Kobe struck up a friendship as the two posed for pictures as Bryant was rehabbing a torn Achilles. Supposedly, Puig waited over an hour to talk to Kobe last night as he was seen at a Dodger game earlier in the season with former Laker and current Dodgers owner Magic Johnson.
Puig finished his rookie season on a sour note with an 0-3 and two errors in Game 6 of the NLCS, but he helped lead the Dodgers turnaround after his call-up on June 3.
Bryant has been criticized and put under the microscope for over 17 years in the NBA and it’s clear that Puig is seeking out his advice on how to handle the pressure and limelight in LA.
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!