Larry Nance Jr. threw down a monster jam on Tuesday night, and Kobe Bryant took note. Asked about Nance's dunk after the game, Bryant said the rookie's dunk was "impressive" while visible smiling as he conjured up the memory of the dunk.
"I though he had hit the max," Bryant said. "I thought he was going to get fouled, but he just kept going up and up and up."
Hardly the tight-lipped superstar at this stage in his career, Bryant issued a challenge to the media with a sly smile on his face: "I'll let you ask [Nance] what I told him during the time out."
Well, on Wednesday, the Lakers met for practice, and NBCLA.com tracked down the rookie out of Wyoming to inquire as to which words of wisdom the "Black Mamba," who is a former Slam Dunk champion, chose to impart on his fresh faced, high-flying rookie.
"[Bryant] said when I grow up, I'll be able to do that on Dwight Howard," Nance immediately understood the gravity of what he had just shared.
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Bryant had famously "poster-ized" Howard earlier in his career before the two joined forces in LA. Eventually, Howard left Bryant and the Lakers on less than respectable terms. On Saturday in Houston, Howard and Bryant hugged and appeared to be at peace with one another, but this comment perfectly captured Bryant's competitive spirit.
Nance tried to be politically correct and pointed out that he had tried to go up and dunk against Houston a few nights earlier and been turned away. The rookie tried to say Bryant meant that Nance would be able to dunk on guys like Howard. However, Bryant specifically mentioned Howard, so there was no point fighting it at this stage. The cat was out of the bag.
Technically, Nance will be older when the Lakers host the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on Thursday night. Asked about dunking on Howard on Thursday, Nance smiled, "We'll see if I've grown up."