Turns out, according to one of the Lakers’ most popular reserves, you all are a little cuckoo, even by NBA standards. But that should be taken as a compliment, a sign of both your knowledge and devotion to the purple-and-gold.
That was the thought given by guard Alex Caruso to Miami Heat wing Duncan Robinson on Robinson’ new podcast, The Long Shot. The two were talking about the oddness of NBA fame and Caruso pointed out that NBA fame in L.A. is entirely different. He has learned to cope with it.
“You know, the Lakers fans are, in the best way possible, insane,” Caruso told Robinson. “They are ride-or-die, they all think that they’re basketball experts and it is all in the purest form of just wanting to have success for the team. Trying to be a normal person as much as I can because that is how I am when I am not wearing a Lakers jersey or hanging out with the team.”
Anthony Davis likes having Alex Caruso on the floor to close games:
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) January 31, 2021
Alex Caruso: ‘We Still Live Our Lives’
Caruso at first rose to prominence after arriving with the Lakers in 2017, having gone undrafted out of Texas A&M. He had some impressive summer-league outings and was given a two-way contract with the Lakers that year. He gained attention, in limited minutes, for his hustle and his hairline (“Bald Mamba” is one of his nicknames), as well as his ability to guard on the perimeter and make perimeter shots.
He because the social-media obsession of the singer Halsey during last year’s playoffs.
AC my gawwwwwd
— h (@halsey) August 25, 2020
A FUCKING C DO NOT DISRESPECT THIS MAN
— halsey and1 (@halseyandone) September 11, 2020
But by last year, he was an important part of the rotation, appearing in all 21 of the Lakers’ playoff games and averaging 6.5 points and 2.8 assists in 24.3 minutes per game. He is, thus, getting more and more recognizable in his home market. That has its ups and downs, he explained:
For me, we still live our lives. I’m just Alex, you’re just Duncan. When you go to the store, you go get food, go to Best Buy, like, I’m just living my life. And these people, they see you on TV or they see you on social media and in their head they build you up to be this incredible person so they want to take a picture or something. I am never gonna be the guy to say no. I’m a nice guy, I always—the fans are great.
I miss the fans so much, with COVID, not having the fans in the stadium. Anytime someone stops me or want to say hi, I always do. I think some days it’s just different. Some days—I’m like all humans—I just don’t want to talk to people. Some days, it’s been a rough morning or I am thinking about something else going on in life and I’d rather not talk to people. But I think that just comes with the job.
Caruso, Robinson Had Awkward Moment in Finals Elevator
Caruso’s role has been much the same this season, as he is averaging 5.4 points and 2.1 assists in 17.9 minutes per game. He is posting some incredible shooting numbers, making a career-high 45.7% from the field and 52.8% from the 3-point line on the season.
He did miss five games earlier in the year because of the NBA’s new health and safety protocols, though Caruso pointed out that he never actually had COVID-19 himself.
Robinson, who was also undrafted in 2016, befriended Caruso when the two went through several predraft workouts together.
On the podcast, they also talked about an awkward elevator ride after the first game of last year’s NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble. The Lakers won the game handily and Caruso looked up to see his old friend.
“I just did not know what to say,” Caruso said. “We’re both in the idle of the biggest competition of our lives up until this date. I know he was probably p****** and upset because they lost the other day. I was in a decent headspace because we played well and got the win. I did not want to say, ‘Good luck,’ because I don’t want him to win. It was just a loss for words.”
“That was a long 30 seconds,” Robinson said.