DALLAS — The phone conversation takes place nearly every one to two weeks.
Then, Lakers reserve forward Larry Nance Jr. chats for an hour with Dallas Mavericks assistant Larry Shyatt. They talk about their lives. They reminisce on their time together at the University of Wyoming, where Nance played for four years and led the Cowboys to a Mountain West Conference championship and an NCAA tournament appearance in 2015 for the first time in 13 years. They still talk about the game, with Shyatt still providing Nance various tips on how to improve his craft.
“Even though he’s not my coach,” Nance said, “he’ll always be my coach.”
Nance joked he has “a scout for the Mavericks now” who “gives me the inside scoop” and “feeds me all their plays.” Nance then jokingly boasted he never has shared any purple and gold secrets.
In reality, Shyatt has not told Nance details of the Dallas Mavericks’ playbook or provided a scouting report on his team’s roster. Nance could have only hoped he would have received any insight to help him stopping Dirk Nowitzki from securing his 30,000th career point against him on Tuesday against the Mavericks despite not conceding an inch of space on his patented fall-away jumper.
Yet, Nance’s close relationship with Shyatt provides a window into the journey Nance took before the Lakers selected him No. 27 in the 2015 NBA Draft. It also shows what has made Nance a beloved and emerging forward both when he was a Cowboy and currently as a Laker.
Said Nance: “That’s my guy. I love him.”
Said Shyatt: “He’s one of my favorite people.”