Ever since 2001, when I watched Allen Iverson doing seemingly miraculous things on the court, I’ve been a fan of basketball as a sport. And for some inexplicable reason, there was no way for me to be able to root for the Los Angeles Lakers, despite being a resident of LA. I was always a fan of teams that were not quite as good, but had potential. It started with the OKC Thunder, when they first became the Thunder (and not the Seattle Supersonics); then it went to the Bulls, when they picked up Derrick Rose; and now, my favoritism hovers with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have yet to truly fulfill the potential that I saw in them. However, in recent times, I’ve begun following the Lakers more and more because of one player – Swaggy P.
Now, Swaggy P isn’t exactly what you would call a franchise player, but he seems to be a pretty great example of what is quickly becoming a Kobe-less Laker future. I don’t pretend to know too much about basketball, but from my limited knowledge, it seems like the Lakers have built a team of players that is comprised of individually gifted pieces that work as a unit. Riddled with injuries, it’s difficult to have a consistent core group come together and show up each night to play. However, they could perhaps become a different team from what the Lakers have been used to being. With the right coaching system, it’s entirely possible to be a very young Spurs-esque team.
All that boring stuff aside, let’s get down to talking about Swaggy P. The man, ignoring the questionable shot selection at times, is possibly the most infectiously positive player in the game. He talks as if he’s high all the time, but something about that far-off, not-entirely-there, gentle, high voice of his inevitably induces a smile. He is, indeed, swaggy, having a ridiculous amount of confidence that doesn’t come off as arrogant, but self-assured. The Lakers go through a losing streak, and Swaggy P is the one keeping a smile on not because losing is fun for him, but because he realizes his role as the one keeping up morale in the locker room. Swaggy P loves dribbling the ball and taking big time shots (even if they are completely off target) because that’s what keeps the game fun for him. He plays to win, just as all basketball players should be doing, but he understands that the game is still a game. Nick Young was born to entertain people, and if you don’t like the way he plays, at least admire his attempt to provide that occasional brilliance that comes from an unceasing effort to try – whether it be 360-degree layups (that he’s made in the past) or crossing up defenders and going hard to the hoop. Swaggy P tries harder than most people would give him credit for, I think, and on top of it all, he laughs and has the ability to laugh at himself. That peculiar quality of being able to have fun at his own expense and yet still remain confident in that Swaggy P way is why he’s got me, a seasoned veteran of opposing the Lakers, rooting for them to do big things. Because I believe in Swaggy P and the new Lakers crew that’s rolling in. It’s just going to take a bit of time, hard work, and most importantly, swag, but the Lakers will most likely find themselves in an interesting spot in the years to come. Here’s to Swaggy P staying with the Lakeshow.