The story of how a promise to Kobe Bryant made one former Laker’s dreams come true
If you’re a true, die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan, answer me this. Do you know who the Lakers drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 NBA draft? If you answered Ater Majok, I salute your crazy level of fandom, good sir.
The Sudanese-born hooper is currently rostered by the US Monastir basketball team, which is part of the inaugural season of the Basketball Africa League. But once upon a time, Majok was a Los Angeles Laker.
The former University of Connecticut Huskies player spoke out about how a fleeting moment with Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant gave him the drive to succeed. This comes via a report from ESPN’s Leonard Solms:
“I was having a conversation in one of the camps that Kobe was hosting and I told him, ‘One day, I’m going to be your teammate.’
“I took a picture with [Bryant] and said, ‘Yo, you’ve got a bullseye on your back. I’m coming for you.’ As a kid, being a competitor, that’s something that you’re automatically going to do.
“That’s where my journey started — when I met him that day. My words to him were, ‘I’m going to be on the same court as you one day. If I’m playing against you, I’m coming at your neck, but if I’m your teammate, I’m going to make you proud.’
“He said: ‘Yeah, a lot of people said that, but it’s not an easy road, but if you can get there, get my phone.'”
The Lakers legend has probably heard that line from hundreds or even thousands of aspiring young ballers looking to make it in the NBA. Despite the fact that Ater Majok never stuck around in the NBA, he’s still part of a handful of players that made his dreams a reality. To have that moment with Kobe Bryant is definitely an all-timer for anyone’s basketball career.