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Lakers newsletter: DJ Bamboozle has the NBA’s best spin moves

DJ Bamboozle entertains the crowd.
(Courtesy of DJ Bamboozle)

Hey everyone and welcome back to the Lakers newsletter. Sorry for the one week delay; I was in San Francisco for the first two games of the NBA Finals. And oh yeah, the Lakers hired a new coach who said some things about Russell Westbrook.

There’s a little lull in Lakerland right now — the draft and free agency will change that soon enough.

The thing about the NBA, and I learned this in the 2020 bubble, is that it’s way more than just the players. Support systems include all sorts of people — chefs, trainers, families and friends.

This week, I did a Q&A with Jeremy Adams, better known in NBA circles as DJ Bamboozle. A childhood friend of Jared Dudley, Bamboozle had a front-row seat to NBA life even though he’s never scored a point in the league.

And this summer, in what’s becoming a bit of an annual tradition, DJ Bamboozle will DJ six nights during the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas at some of the Strip’s biggest clubs.

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It’s a blessed life — from a San Diego basketball camp to DJ sets all across the world.

Hope you enjoy our chat.

Woike: How many NBA games do you think you’ve been to in your life?

DJ Bamboozle: Wow. So my best friend had been playing for 15 years, and I’d say I would go to 20 or 25 games a year. But then there was a year he was in L.A. where I went to every home game. Wow, just doing the math...at least 400, maybe even 500. I go to a lot of games when he’s not playing because I’ve made so many friends throughout the year. That’s crazy to think about.

Woike: How did you meet Dudz?

DJ Bamboozle: I met Jared in high school. I was going into the eighth grade in middle school and he was going into his freshman year of high school. We went to a basketball camp in the summer in San Diego. I was 14 and he was 15 ... and he was just cooking. Just this overweight guy that was big fundamentals. He wasn’t fast, wasn’t quick, but he was very intelligent. His IQ was through the roof already. He knew when to ball fake, when to bounce pass, where the ball was going when there was a rebound. ...

Woike: People think he’s athletic like an average person.

DJ Bamboozle: For the average human, he’s much more athletic. But when you throw him in with the 450 greatest athletes in the NBA, and you think to yourself, maybe athleticism doesn’t play a part. But some of the best weren’t that athletic. Nobody thinks Magic Johnson was this crazy athletic guy. Nobody thinks Tim Duncan. But agility, the mental stuff, reactions...

Woike: How does your life change when Jared makes the NBA?

DJ Bamboozle: So, I knew he was going to the NBA when he was at Boston College. He was the ACC player of the year. He was phenomenal there. I’d fly from San Diego to go visit and go see games. It’s been such a great friendship for all these years. After that, he got drafted to Charlotte by Michael Jordan and for me, that was the coolest thing ever. ...And a year later he gets traded to Phoenix and it became real for me. I didn’t want to be a part of an entourage. I wanted to blaze my own trail and really do something where I can say ‘This is what I do.’ We’re friends, but when you see us, we’re separate entities. He’s in the NBA and I’m doing music. So I begin to grind, use his relationships with teams to make different avenues for myself. I know when I would DJ, they had a pact basically on the Suns — we’re not going to go anywhere to any venue unless Bamboozle is DJ’ing.... Promoters would hit them in different cities to try and get them to come out, but they’d be like ‘We need Bam to DJ.’ It was just the coolest thing. Now, those relationships that I’ve made for 15 years. they’ve turned into my friends by seeing me rise through the ranks.

Woike: You were in the bubble. Did you DJ the Lakers celebration in Orlando, Fla.?

DJ Bamboozle: I didn’t. It was a party, man. It was exciting to see everyone together. So, the original plan was the whole team was going to fly to Miami. Everybody had a plan, DJs all set up, venues. But when they lost Game 5, everybody was like, ‘Listen. Let’s lock in and win this. Let’s not talk about what we’re gonna do after.’ ...Let’s make it worth it.

Then the Lakers win and we go to Las Vegas a week later. DJ all those celebrations there. And all of Vegas, was basically closed down. But they were opening it up for the Lakers. Everywhere we go, it’s empty. Just us. Restaurant built for 600 people, it’s just our tables. The trophy was going everywhere too. It had its own security guard, rolling it around. And I’m doing this with my best friend, Jared Dudley.

Woike: You, Anthony Davis and LeBron all became close that season.

DJ Bamboozle: Very close. It was a dream come true coming out of that part of the pandemic. A lot of people didn’t make it out financially. A lot didn’t physically. To live my dream like that, it was such a blessing looking back. And it really inspired me and allowed me to be around these guys who are the greatest in the world. And it told me, I’m not working hard enough. Whatever I’m doing, I’ve got to do more.

Woike: You went on vacation earlier this year with LeBron. What was that like?

DJ Bamboozle: It was amazing. We went to Dubai and the Maldives. I know athletes work incredibly hard. To see someone like him recalibrate and zone back in to life...he’s been going since he was 18 years old. The whole world watches him. To be on vacation with him, his family and his friends, it was just one of the best things — to even be asked to go along. No. 2, to know that everybody needs a vacation. We all need to unplug. Maybe it’s going to your favorite restaurant. Maybe it’s going to a movie. (Laughs). Maybe it’s flying 16 hours to go to an island.

Woike: What’s LeBron’s worst musical opinion?

DJ Bamboozle: Hmm...He’s a big a fan of Yelawolf. And I’m not a big fan. LeBron, he knows every word. And we always make fun of him.

Woike: What’s it like to party in Vegas during Summer League?

DJ Bamboozle: I’m there two weekends, six dates. ...You know Summer League, I mean, we all know that the best players don’t come out of Summer League. Either they play well or they don’t, but it doesn’t dictate how their NBA career is going to be. So, when you put that in Las Vegas, the capital of American entertainment, it’s just like pouring gasoline and kerosene on the fire that’s already there for the young athletes that are already there. And it’s an excuse for vets to come and watch the rookies, hang out, go to the best restaurants, best shows and the best clubs. Everyone associated with the NBA has the chance to come to one spot and it’s Vegas. ...My first year I did it, they had no idea that all these people wanted to see me play. ...They didn’t care what I was doing. They just want to see NBA players come out. And then they started to see it. So every year, they started to stack more dates. For the last three years, I’ve been getting six dates — most of those weekends. ... You never know who’ll you see there. Maybe it’s Leonardo DiCaprio. Maybe it’s Coach K. And they’ve all been in the club while I’ve been DJ’ing. It’s always a good time for me.

Draft intel

If you’ve been following along on my Twitter account since the end of the season, the Lakers have been having prospects in for workouts even though the team is pick-less in the upcoming draft.

A couple of things that I’m hearing…

—The Lakers will aggressively try to buy their way into the second round. Teams can use cash in trades, and while any pick acquisition might require future second-rounders, it’s a safe bet that they’ll try.

—The Lakers will again be among the tops of lists for agents with players who go undrafted, the team having so many holes to fill and the success of Austin Reaves as a template. And with two fewer players being drafted because of the Bulls and Heat forfeiting picks, the talent pool should be slightly better.

—One X-factor in this draft is age. Because of players adding extra eligibility from the COVID-19 season two years ago, 23-and-24-year-old players are fairly common.

Song of the week

Zhane “Hey Mr. DJ”

The best kind of dance song for someone my age is one where you don’t have to stand up for. Zhane’s 90s hit is a perfect sit-in-a-chair-and-rock-side-to-side jam. Love this song.

In case you missed it

New coach Darvin Ham to retain some Lakers assistants, including Phil Handy

Elliott: Lakers coach Darvin Ham brings a fresh perspective and a voice. Will players listen?

Hernández: Darvin Ham’s message is clear: This is on the Lakers players

Lakers’ new coach Darvin Ham ready to form alliance with Russell Westbrook

Jersey worn by Kobe Bryant as a rookie in playoffs sold for $2.7 million

Ime Udoka couldn’t hang with Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers, but worked way to Celtics coach

LeBron James is first active NBA player to be worth $1 billion, Forbes says

People who know new Lakers coach Darvin Ham praise his virtues: ‘He’s the right guy’

Until next time...

As always, pass along your thoughts to me at daniel.woike@latimes.com, and please consider subscribing if you like our work!


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