Get ready for Showtime 2.0
They may not hoist banners, but Lakers basketball is fun for the first time since the Three-Peat.
For the last thirteen years, I have watched other teams share the ball, play with energy, contest three point shooters, try to take charges and play swarming team defense and wished they were the Lakers. Even the Championship years of 2009 and 2010 were exciting only because the team was winning. Their consistent lack of effort against weak teams — even in the playoffs — was frustrating beyond belief. After the nightmare of last year, the Baby Lakers have been a joy to watch. They can still fall into the old bad habits, as evidenced by the last eight minutes of the Oklahoma City game, but they fight pretty much for the entire game.
If you’re not watching them, this is the first of a series of articles on why the 8–7 Lakers are the talk of the Los Angeles again, even though the Clippers have the best record in the NBA.
True Star Power
Forget about Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, when it comes to real acting ability, there is only one player who epitomizes Hollywood. And he’s a Laker.
This player is closer to a character in a movie script than anyone in the NBA.
Quick quiz (only one player is the correct answer to every question):
- Who was a key player (9 points in a one-minute stretch starting at 2:47 in the 4th quarter) in the greatest playoff comeback in the history of the Los Angeles Clippers?
- Which defensively challenged opponent dropped a very efficient 30 on Kobe (18 shots) and the defending champion Lakers, while leading his team in steals?
- Which ball hog led their team in scoring to beat the Lakers while getting a career high in assists?
- Who hit the most recent game-winning shot against the Spurs while Kobe was on the floor?
- Who has publicly trash talked Kobe Bryant more than any other player in the NBA? (Even though he was a team mate.)
- Who has appeared on Shaq’tin the Fool with the same frequency that he makes impossible Kobe-like shots?
- Who has the comedy chops to match Metta World Peace for the greatest post game interview in the history of the NBA?
- Who has more nicknames than any Laker since Shaq?
- Who was left on the scrap heap of broken players only to have a career resurrection matching John Travolta? (Thanks, Luke Walton!)
- Who has been a victim of the paparazzi… who also happened to be a team mate?
- Who can play team ball with and joke around with the same guy who caused his Hollywood romance to go up in flames?
The answer is Nick Young, the ultimate Hollywood athlete.
According to Shea Serrano in his article on the Swaggy P Continuum, Young and his alter-ego Swaggy P may defy the laws of physics that states two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.
In the dark years following the last championship, the only player worth watching was Nick Young.
I’m glad he got another chance and has risen to the occasion, becoming the Lakers’ best perimeter defender, sharing the ball and hitting clutch threes. Now he’s making Laker fans smile for all the right reasons.
Just that alone should make Luke Walton coach of the year.