“The Lakers’ Nick Young #0 drives to the hoop as the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic #9 defends during their NBA game at the Staples Center Friday, January 9, 2015. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)”
A recent shooting slump and the Lakers’ recent struggles did not prove enough to remove Nick Young’s smile as he strolled into the Staples Center locker room.
Young sported a sweatshirt that said “Romantic,” an ode both to Valentine’s Day and his recent proclamation that he needs some “love” after experiencing a rough January. That entailed shooting 32 percent from the field, spraining his right ankle and falling into Byron Scott’s doghouse over his frustration about his attitude and work ethic.
Young then confirmed the story was true that his girlfriend and hip hop artist Iggy Azalea revealed on Twitter. Young is scared of dolphins. And the Lakers’ forward has good reason to feel that way after experiencing a bizarre episode during an unspecified vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
“The dolphin tried to kill me,” Young said before the Lakers (13-38) hosted the Denver Nuggets (19-33) on Tuesday at Staples Center. “They were playing with everybody else. But when I started to ride the dolphin, for some reason he took me all the way to the bottom. He tried to drown me. But I jumped off the water, took off the life vest and stayed outside.”
Dolphins seem like a friendly bunch. Young is, too. So why did the two not mesh together?
“He was trying to get at Iggy, he was friendly kissing her,” Young joked. “He was trying to take my woman.
Reporters around Young laughed. But Scott soon interrupted the noise.
“You like getting fined, don’t you?” Scott asked Young from across the locker room.
“This is my normal time,” Young argued back. “I come in at 6:15 every day.”
“6 p.m.,” Scott answered back.
Young looked visibly annoyed and indicated he wanted to end the interview. But Young spoke for a minute-and-a-half more to talk about Brotherhood Crusade, a non-profit group that Young partnered with to bring 60 kids to the Lakers’ game.
“Growing up where I came from, it’s not the best community,” said Young, a former Reseda High standout. “I try to do what I got to do to help the youth be as Swaggy they can. It’s always a good time to give back no matter when it s good or bad. I try to stay positive.”
Even when a dolphin nearly kills him, or when a demanding coach gets on his nerves.
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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org