The Los Angeles Lakers selected Julius Randle with the No. 7 pick in Thursday's 2014 NBA draft, importing the bruising and gifted power forward out of Kentucky to help wipe clean the bad taste of a 27-55 season and kickstart what L.A. fans and brass hope will be a rebuilding process that returns the Lakers to the ranks of the NBA elite. He'll be partnering with the now-reportedly 100 percent Kobe Bryant in beginning that uphill climb in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, and judging by the photo that Randle posted to his Instagram account on Thursday, it's a partnership the rookie's been looking forward to for a long, long time:

Yep, that's Randle rocking a reversed Kobe No. 8 jersey — yes, kids, the Black Mamba used to wear a number other than 24 — in a Throwback Thursday photo accompanied by the caption, "Oh y'all didn't know I grew up a LAKER fan?" (Well, whether we knew it or not, Julius, we kind of suspected when you decided not to participate in that second workout with the Boston Celtics, who were picking one slot ahead of the Lakers on Thursday.)

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