Many players breathe a sigh of relief if they know Kobe Bryant will miss a game against their team.
Not Victor Oladipo.
Oladipo is disappointed that an injury will prevent Bryant from playing when the Orlando Magic host the Los Angeles Lakers tonight at Amway Center.
Oladipo has admired Bryant for years, and the Magic rookie hopes to play against the Lakers’ legend soon.
“That would’ve been absolutely insane, but he’ll be back,” Oladipo said. “I believe he will, so I’m looking forward to that matchup down the road.”
Oladipo was just 4 years old when Bryant began his rookie season in the NBA.
Bryant has been a superstar for as long as Oladipo can remember, and even one of Oladipo’s older sisters was a huge Bryant fan years ago.
“That’s all I heard and saw: Kobe,” Oladipo remembered.
Laron Profit, one of the Magic’s assistant coaches for player development, played for the Lakers during part of the 2005-06 season.
Profit works closely with Oladipo and has told Oladipo stories about Bryant’s work ethic.
“I already had respect for him,” Oladipo said of Bryant.
“But my respect has grown even more. I know how much of a competitor he is, and I’m a competitor, too. So it’s always fun to get matched up with those guys, and plus, he’s one of the greatest, if not the greatest. It would’ve been real fun to be matched up with him. But like I said, he’ll be back. So I’m looking forward to that.”
The Magic are scheduled to play the Lakers once more this season, on March 23 in Los Angeles.
Magic center Nik Vucevic will miss his 10th consecutive game as he continues to recover from his second concussion since March 19, 2013.
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun