Larry Nance Jr. says he was 'terrified' of Kobe Bryant's reaction to tweet

ByBaxter Holmes ESPN logo
Monday, June 29, 2015

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers first-round draft pick Larry Nance Jr.said he was "terrified" of his new teammateKobe Bryant's potential reaction to a tweet Nance sent in 2012 that referred to a sexual assault case involving Bryant.

"You hear all the stories about how Kobe, or Mr. Bryant, is so intense and just always on edge," Nance said when he and the team's other draft picks were introduced at the Lakers' practice facility on Monday.

"I was nervous to send him a long message and then just get an 'Okay,' or not a response at all. I'm just so, so glad he handled that in the manner he did. I still could be up here with a stomach in my knot, or a knot in my stomach. But he did a terrific job and I can't thank him enough for forgiving me."

Speaking at the BET Experience at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on Saturday night during a sit-down interview with ESPN's Jemele Hill, Bryant said "there's no need" for any further discussion about the matter with Nance, the Lakers' 27th overall pick out of the University of Wyoming.

"The kid figured it out himself," Bryant said. "He's a kid, man. He actually sent me a great message [Friday], which is really funny. I looked at it [the message], and it was like, 'This is when you know it's about time to hang these things up, when your teammate writes you, Hi, Mr. Bryant.'

"I was like, 'What the f---?' But it was really nice and apologetic about what had happened. I said, 'Dude, listen. We've all said things and done things that we regret and wish we could take back. It's water under the bridge, man. Welcome to the team.' He writes back, 'Thank you, sir.'"

Nance's tweet, which was deleted within minutes of his selection Thursday, read: "Gee I sure hope Kobe can keep his hands to himself in Denver this time." It also included the hashtag "#rapist."

"I heard my named called with the 27th pick. It was about two minutes until I found out about that," Nance said on Monday. "About 24 hours went past, I felt like I was going to throw up, sick to my stomach. I was just embarrassed in myself. I felt so bad about what I had said. I just wanted to apologize right away."

Nance said he felt much better after chatting with Bryant.

"Once I got the 'Hey, you're a kid. We've all said and done things we've regretted. It's water under the bridge. Welcome to the family [from Bryant],' I immediately felt my stomach release. There was a big knot."

Nance said he'll continue referring to Bryant as "Mr. Bryant."

"Until he says, 'I'm Kobe to you,' he's going to be 'Mr. Bryant' and 'sir,'" Nance said.

The 6-foot-9 Nance is the son of Larry Nance, formerly of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns.

Nance added later, "I've still got to regain my good graces with the Lakers fans. I'm working on that before any special treatment comes to me."

Nance apologized to the team's fan base in a Twitter post Monday evening:

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