The Lakers have signed former LA Clipper Nick Young, who was with the Philadelphia 76ers last season. Nick “Swagy P” signed with the Lakers for the one-year veteran minimum of 1.2 million dollars. Swagy P was born and raised in West Los Angeles. Young is returning back home to his L.A. roots. Andy Kamentzky of ESPN sat down with Young to talk about life growing up in L.A.. Nick, the LA native, played basketball in college at USC. The local product is returning home to help boost his hometown Lakers bench mob.
“Very fortunate. I believe L.A. made me, really raised me,” said Young.
“I think about that all the time. People come here and visit, some of my teammates, and they stay here all summer. And I’m like, “Man, that’s crazy. This is home for me and this is where some people want to come.” It’s a blessing.”
The streets of L.A. taught Young how to play and fine-tune his basketball skills.
“At Robertson Park. We would all get together, go up there. Cedric Ceballos played there. He grew up over there. Craig Smith. And also at Pan Pacific.”
“It’s a very small gym. It gets packed and it gets sweaty. A lot of trash talking. Mostly, there were a lot of guards. Back then, everyone wanted to be Iverson, man. But I was probably the tallest in my group, so I wanted to be like T-Mac and Kobe.“
Nick now will have the opportunity with the Lakers to play with his hero Kobe Bryant. Almost every L.A. kid only dreams of meeting Kobe, let alone playing on the same team. Young’s dream of teaming up with the Mamba is now reality.
The USC product did not have an easy life growing up in West L.A.. Young’s brother Charles was senselessly shot and murdered by gang violence when Nick was only five years-old. The death of Nick’s brother shaped him to focus on basketball.
“It started off as an outlet. I remember after the funeral and stuff, we went to go play at the YMCA. It was things like that. Just really stayed busy.
Once I really got that season in high school, that’s when I was like, “I could really do this. I’m gonna really take advantage of this right now.”
Young is also reuniting with his high school and UCLA Bruin rival, Jordan Farmar. Farmar was recently signed to come back to the Lakers where they bought out his contract from his Turkish team. The two friends, and L.A. natives are now reunited with the Lakers.
“I got a package from Jordan Farmar and I was shocked. It was some SAT books, something he told me to study on. And he had a note that said you need this opportunity because you’re a great player and a great person.
“Anything I can do, I want to help and I want you to take full advantage of it. And the letter blew me away, because it’s another player in high school sending me something like that. I gained the most respect for him and from there on, we’ve stayed the best of friends.”
Young should provide a scoring threat off the bench and a perimeter shooting option for the Lakers. The USC basketball star has a career average of 11.3 ppg shooting 37-percent from three point land, and has an overall 42-percent field goal percentage. Swagy P” is an athletic 6’6 guard with size and the ability to hit the outside jumper. Nick’s youth and shooting will be beneficial for L.A..
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