Quietly, Nick Young slid into the locker room hoping no one would notice.
He arrived to Staples Center Friday night shortly after 6:15 p.m., an hour and fifteen minutes before the Lakers would tip off against Golden State and at least an hour after most players fit in their pre-game treatment and their pre-game warmups. But he couldn’t help himself.
Young showed off the outfit that appeared to be a mix of Kanye West’s “Yeezus” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller, including black zipper pants, Air Jordan 7 Raptors, a hoodie, two gold chains and a red leather backpack. He gloated about GQ recently ranking him 19th on this year’s “most stylish athletes” list.
Even though Young hardly looked prepared for work, his never-ending smile put everyone at ease. A team official remained more than happy to accommodate Young’s ticket requests. Lakers forward Shawne Williams continuously congratulated Young for making the GQ list. Reporters nearby endlessly made small talk on his fashion choices, his infinite shoe collection and his on-court trash talking with Kobe Bryant during practice.
Lakers guard Jordan Farmar, a former high school club teammate that, soon approached Young’s stall and sternly interrupted Young’s good times.
“What are you doing?” Farmar asked.
“I’m having conversation,” Young said.
“It’s time to get to work,” Farmar said.
So they did, a never-ending ritual where the two participate in pre-game warmups. Two hours later, the two are leading a second-half charge that personifies the endless energy displayed in the Lakers’ 102-95 victory Friday over the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.
For Young, that entailed posting 21 points on 7 of 15 shooting, two steals and a whole lot of energy that earned him the nickname “Swaggy P.” Welcome to Young’s world, where his energetic personality has translated positively on the court. He entered Friday’s game against the Warriors as the league’s fourth-highest scoring reserve, averaging 17.2 points in his last five games.
Will he clamor for NBA’s sixth man of the year?
“I’m just trying to get wins,” Young said. “If it happens, there’s some more bragging rights for me to just talk trash and just have fun with it.”
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