High school basketball player Jett Washington gave spectators a reason he is connected to NBA legend Kobe Bryant when he showcased his skills on Saturday at Crypto.com Arena, the home of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Washington, who is the son of the late Bryant’s sister Sharia Washington, played for Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High in the Coastal Catholic Classic showcase event, where he scored an impressive 33 points.
Despite his outstanding performance, his team suffered an 82-81 overtime loss to San Francisco Riordan, according to Daily Mail.
Washington added to his remarkable performance by hitting a game-tying three-point shot just before the regulation buzzer, forcing overtime.
Playing at Crypto.com Arena, where his uncle Bryant’s retired Lakers jersey is honored, Washington’s 33 points score – the same number as Bryant’s high school jersey – made the moment memorable. “It means a lot playing in the house he built and playing where he played,” Washington said.
Bishop Gorman’s coach, Grant Rice, expressed the team’s excitement at the opportunity to play at Crypto.com Arena, emphasizing the significance for Washington and the school.
He explained that when the team was initially approached, they couldn’t pass up the chance to play at the iconic venue, not only considering Washington’s connection to his late uncle Bryant but also recognizing the broader opportunity for the school.
“We weren’t thinking about Jett, but it’s an added bonus for him to get a chance to come back here where his uncle played and is such a big figure in Los Angeles. It’s an amazing thing.”
The tragic reminder of Bryant’s passing, along with his daughter Gigi and others, in a helicopter crash in January 2020, adds a poignant layer to the narrative. Bryant, along with other passengers, lost their lives in a helicopter crash while en route to his daughter Gianna’s basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, in January 2020.
Bryant’s legacy is deeply intertwined with Crypto.com Arena (formerly Staples Center), where he spent his entire NBA career, securing five championship rings for the Los Angeles Lakers.
In contrast to his uncle’s basketball legacy, Washington, a sophomore at Bishop Gorman, is a versatile athlete excelling in two sports. Standing at 6 feet 4 inches, Washington was a wide receiver for Bishop Gorman’s undefeated football team last season. His athletic prowess has garnered attention, with college offers from notable schools such as Georgia, Arizona, and Washington, as per his Instagram profile.
Despite not necessarily following in his uncle’s basketball footsteps, Washington is carving out his own path as a standout two-sport athlete.