Nick Young’s biggest moment donning the purple and gold came Monday night during the Los Angeles Lakers’ overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls. He said the three free throws he knocked down to force overtime was the most pressure he’s felt on the court since he’s been in the NBA. Fortunately for Young, he had the best under pressure man in the business, coaching him on the sidelines.
“Kobe was right there telling me, guiding me like a coach too from that sideline, telling me what to do and keep my head up after I missed the first shot,” Young gushed after the game. “Kobe’s been a great mentor for me…and that’s been unbelievable for me this whole year, just learning from the greatest player to play this game.”
Kobe and Young talk to each other quite a bit. Before Young’s altercation in Phoenix, Bryant thought there was a certain “combativeness” missing from Young’s game. The will to compete wasn’t quite developed. Bryant’s opinion started to change after the game in Phoenix.
After Young signed with the Lakers, he was vocal about feeling disrespected by other teams not giving him a chance. After seven years in the league, this was Young’s chance to do more than just talk a big game.
“This is where big players step up,” Young thought to himself as he stood at the charity stripe, mentally preparing to sink three free-throws after drawing the Joakim Noah foul.
Young exhaled a sigh of relief after his first free throw seemed to clank on every which part of the rim. Nevertheless, Young stepped up sinking all three free-throws. Even Kobe was forced proudly on his feet. Pau Gasol described the way Young gets fouled shooting 3’s as “incredible.” Ryan Kelly has said Young’s one of the best in the game at it.
Slow your roll on the Swaggy P, Black Mamba comparisons. Swaggy P isn’t the next Black Mamba.
“I can’t play like Kobe. There’s only one Kobe,” Young chimed in with a grin. When a reporter tried calling him ‘Swag Mamba,’ Young wasn’t having it, “You can’t call me Swaggy Mamba. It’s only Swaggy P.”
Young may think Bryant is the greatest to have ever played the game, but that doesn’t mean he wants any part in Bryant’s Black Mamba trademark. All Nick wants is for people to remember Swaggy P.
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