It’s official — the Bald Eagle will not be taking flight during All-Star weekend.
“Maybe looking forward to (the break) a little bit more,” Caruso told reporters earlier in the week. “I’ll probably just play some golf with some buddies and leave it at that.”
The dunk contest field will be made up of Pacers rookie Cassius Stanley, Knicks rookie Obi Toppin and Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons. With the condensed All-Star schedule, the competition will take place at halftime of the game.
Caruso may have an unassuming look, but has quite the highlight reel of dunks and would have been a worthy participant.
Alex Caruso Has Cult Following, Nicknames Aplenty
Caruso has quickly carved out a spot as a fan favorite in NBA. Despite averaging just 5.8 points per game this season off the bench, Caruso was a top-10 fan-vote getter among guards for the All-Star game.
He’s earned countless nicknames since hitting the big-time in LA, such as the Bald Mamba and Carushow. There’s even a funny story about a Lakers assistant asking “who gave the UPS guy a jersey,” during the 2017 Summer League.
One nickname that has stuck is simple — GOAT, short for greatest of all-time. It’s one that even LeBron James has taken a liking to.
“It’s funny,” Caruso said. “Every time it comes up, it’s funny. It has kind of lost its pop to me because everyone on the team says it now, but when it first started happening it was funny and it was a good laugh. Everyone still enjoys it and they’re still saying it.
“The outside world might be taking it in basketball terms but I think when my teammates say it, they’re just speaking to the kind of teammate I am and the kind of guy I am. I’m just another one of the guys who happens to be really good at basketball and don’t look like I should be.”
Lakers Focused on Rest During Repeat Bid
After a historically short offseason, the Lakers have been open about wanting to get rest when they can. So Caruso turning down the All-Star activity jives with that, although there’s no question it would have massively increased his personal brand.
As far as the Lakers go, LeBron James and Anthony Davis will represent the purple and gold at the All-Star game, although Davis won’t play due to injury. James — who is making his 17th All-Star appearance — is expected to play, but will likely take it very easy during the game. James called the game a “slap in the face” when it was reported that the league would pursue the annual exhibition matchup.
“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James told reporters. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.”
James is sitting out his first game of the season on Wednesday, giving him some extra time off heading into the All-Star break.
The Lakers aren’t due back on the court until March 12.