Lakers’ Larry Nance Jr. follows his father’s footsteps to the All-Star dunk contest
Larry Nance Jr. chose his wardrobe with a purpose Friday.
He wore a black shirt with a screen-printed image that depicted his father in the 1984 dunk contest — the first-ever dunk contest, which Larry Nance Sr. happened to win.
Thirty-four years later, Nance will participate in the same contest his father did.
“It’s pretty cool to have a former champion on my side,” Nance said. “Not bad advice from that guy right there.”
The game has changed so much since Nance Sr. won it. There are props and story lines involved in dunks.
“It’s less about the dunk and more about the showmanship at this point,” Nance said. “It’s all about what can you bring out, who can you bring out. It’s more about the leadup and the story and the showmanship.”
Nance might play in Los Angeles, where the All-Star weekend is being held this month, but he is anything but Hollywood. He doesn’t delight in a celebrity lifestyle and his play features more substance than flash with the notable exception of when he throws down a powerful, high-flying dunk.
“I hate it,” Nance said of the turn toward showmanship. “But at the same time that’s, I got to get out of my comfort zone a little bit. That’s something that the NBA and whoever I have helping me is going to help me out with.”
Nance didn’t start playing basketball until high school, and his first goal was to even make it to the NBA like his father. But once there, he wanted to participate in the dunk contest. Injuries thwarted that dream the past two seasons.
This year, a healthy Nance is excited for his chance.
“I’ll probably be the most comfortable one there,” Nance said. “I’ve played the most games there and stuff like that, so I hope the L.A. fan base will come out strong to support me.”
Night on Broadway
Thursday night, after an afternoon practice at the Barclays Center, the Lakers went as a team to see the smash Broadway musical “Hamilton.”
“The players I talked to all enjoyed, they were really impressed with the cast and just the whole storytelling of the play; they enjoyed themselves,” coach Luke Walton said. “Said the legroom wasn’t great, but they really enjoyed the show.”
Walton didn’t join them, opting instead to prepare for Friday’s game. Then he canceled the Lakers’ scheduled shootaround in the morning, to avoid an extra trip to Brooklyn from their Manhattan hotel.
After Friday’s game, Brandon Ingram spent some extra time in the training room getting treatment for tightness in his right groin.
The Lakers will evaluate Ingram on Saturday in Oklahoma City to see if he will be able to play in their Sunday afternoon game.
“I don’t think it was any certain move,” Ingram said, when asked when he suffered the injury. “Felt a little sore when I came back here today, but I’m sure it’ll feel fine.”
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli
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