EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Larry Nance Jr.'s elation at getting drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers lasted about two minutes before he was reminded of a tweet he sent out in 2012 criticizing Kobe Bryant.
Nance was overjoyed when Bryant said he wasn't bothered.
Still, Nance acknowledged Monday that he was ''terrified'' to speak to Bryant after his old tweet proliferated on social media last Thursday.
Nance said he deeply regrets the tweet, which read: ''Gee I sure hope Kobe can keep his hands to himself in Denver again,'' with the hashtag ''rapist.''
Bryant was arrested and accused of sexual assault in Colorado in 2003. The criminal charges were dropped a year later, and Bryant settled a civil lawsuit.
''About 24 hours went past when I just felt like I was going to throw up,'' Nance said. ''Sick to my stomach. Just embarrassed in myself. I felt so bad about what I had said, and I just wanted to apologize to him right away.''
Nance sent a lengthy message to Bryant on Friday, and the 6-foot-9 forward from Wyoming said he got a response that eased his anxiety: ''Hey, you're a kid. We've all said and done things we've regretted, and it's water under the bridge. Welcome to the family.''
Nance was the 27th overall pick by the Lakers, who introduced their three draft choices at a news conference Monday. Bryant didn't attend, but he addressed the tweet in an interview last weekend at the BET Experience in Los Angeles.
''The kid figured it out himself,'' Bryant said. ''He's a kid, man. He actually sent me a great message.''
Bryant's last three seasons have ended early due to injury, but the five-time champion will be back in camp this fall for his 20th NBA season.
Nance and fellow draftees D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Brown all expressed admiration for Bryant, the third-leading scorer in NBA history. They're also prepared if Bryant gives them some of his infamous disdain for rookies and young players, but they haven't sensed it yet.
''You hear all the stories about how Kobe - Mr. Bryant - is so intense and always on edge, and I was just nervous to send him a long message and maybe just get an `OK,' or not a response at all,'' Nance said. ''I'm just so glad he handled that in the manner he did. I just can't thank him enough for forgiving me.''
Nance's father is a 13-year NBA veteran who played for Phoenix and Cleveland, winning the league's first dunk contest in 1984. The younger Nance said his father cried when he was drafted - but didn't lose his sense of humor, either.
''On draft night, the second my name got called, my dad kind of looked at me and said, `Well, you're now the enemy,''' Nance said. ''He was a Phoenix Sun for seven years. I didn't get to see it, but I'm sure he had a lot of pretty good battles against the Lakers.''