He smiles at every wakeable moment. He miraculously scores the basketball with an array of step-back jumpers in one moment, and horribly misses those same attempts the next. In a Laker season defined by the unpredictable, he’s suddenly playing defense. Apparently pop singer Rihanna has a thing for him, too.
It hasn’t taken long for Nick Young to become a Laker fan favorite, and the reasons go beyond his hometown connections with Cleveland High and USC. He calls himself “Swaggy P.” Young wears ecclectic clothing that’s placed him among GQ’s list of most fashionable athletes. And his smooth and innocent voice has become so distinguishable in the Lakers’ locker room that former Laker greats James Worthy and Byron Scott are imitating it as studio analysts for Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
“I never played defense that much before I came to the Lakers,” Worthy said as Young, who actually made a game-clinching charge in the Lakers’ win last week over the Detroit Pistons.
And that’s just scratching the surface.
Tell Young he’s the favorite to win the NBA’s Sixth man of the year and he’ll say, “I told ya’ll!!”
Ask Young about a highlight move he made and he’ll usually respond by saying, “That was crazy!”
Talk to Young some more and he’s bound to talk about himself in the third-person, even referring to himself as “Swaggy P.”
“My primary job is I’ma come and do what Swaggy P do—I’ma score the ball—so I’m about to get 19, 20 tonight,” Scott said. “That’s just Swaggy P talkin’ to ya.”
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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org