Is Thomas Bryant really related to Kobe Bryant? Let’s take a closer look at the 21-year-old LA Lakers signing

Interest in Thomas Bryant has perked up since the LA Lakers acquired him in free agency. One of the biggest assumptions some fans have of the big man is his relationship with no less than the late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

The thing is, Thomas Bryant and Kobe Bryant aren’t even remotely related. They just happen to have the same last name. The first was born in 1997 when “The Black Mamba” jumped from high school to the NBA. Thomas finally made it to the pro league two years after retiring from the Hall of Fame.

Thomas Bryant’s parents were known to be huge basketball fans and even played college ball. The two, however, did not play professional hoops.

Kobe Bryant’s story, meanwhile, is well told. He was the son of Joe Bryant, who played for the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers and Houston Rockets in the NBA. “Jellybean” also played for several years in Italy and France.

“KB24” learned basketball from an early age following his father. After years in Italy, he then played for Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia before deciding to join the NBA draft in 1996. Kobe Bryant played his entire legendary career with the LA Lakers.

Sources: The Lakers select Thomas Bryant from Indiana with the No. 42 overall pick in the NBA draft.

Thomas Bryant, meanwhile, is still trying to navigate the cutthroat world of the NBA. The LA Lakers picked him in the second round of the 2017 draft and sent him to the Washington Wizards after his rookie year.

The Indiana University product began to show his potential outside of the circus surrounding the LA Lakers. From 1.5 PPG as a rookie, he pushed it to 10.5 PPG in his first season with the Wizards, leading the NBA in two-point field goal percentage with 68.5%. His scoring averages improved in each of his first three years in Washington and looked poised to explode before injuries derailed his career.

Thomas Bryant returns in violet and gold. Brings a lot more size, youth and drive to the Lakers frontcourt. He shot 40+% on 3s in 19-20 and 20-21. Let’s get it!!! 💜💛 https://t.co/oLdDf2d1dE

He is now back with the LA Lakers on a one-year deal, once again teaming up with former Wizards teammate Russell Westbrook.


Thomas Bryant still needs to earn minutes at center for LA Lakers

Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn Nets
Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn Nets

During the second day of training camp, head coach Darvin Ham revealed the starting unit he used in the scrums. He named Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Damian Jones.

If Ham deploys this roster during the regular season, Thomas Bryant will likely be Jones’ replacement. He could earn some decent minutes in this setup, but if the LA Lakers end up trading for Myles Turner, Bryant’s minutes could become scarce.

Bryant’s status on the roster was immediately criticized during the Lakers’ first preseason game. Wenyen Gabriel showed he could add another problem for Darvin Ham to solve. He had a solid knockout last season averaging 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 19 games. His energy and bustle were refreshing sights to see from the Lakers last season.

Gabriel continued that form in the Lakers’ first preseason game. If he consistently puts in the same kind of performances, Gabriel could steal some of Damian Jones and Thomas Bryant’s precious minutes.

Bryant, however, appears to be the most naturally qualified of the LA Lakers’ three centers. If he regains his confidence and his body holds up, he could be a crucial addition to the purple and gold franchise.


Edited by Michael Macasero

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