Nick Young Talks LaMelo Ball and Crazy Explosive ’17

Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young was one of the many adidas athletes in attendance Wednesday afternoon at the “Here to Create” Jamboree at Orange Lutheran HS. Earlier in the day, adidas unveiled the Crazy Explosive ’17, a second iteration of the Crazy Explosive, with Forged Primeknit, a booty-like feature for on-court stability.

A showcase was put on for some of the top AAU and HS programs in Southern California leading up to the highly anticipated rematch between Compton Magic and Big Ballers after the Magic defeating LaMelo Ball’s squad by 52 points in their first meeting. The Magic, an adidas-sponsored team, debuted the Crazy Explosive ’17 before they hit stores July 27, en route to defeating the Big Ballers 63-59 in double-overtime.

We caught up with Young before tip-off to talk the Crazy Explosive ’17, AAU, LaMelo Ball and his sneakers.

SLAM: Since joining adidas, you’ve been given your own logo and have been featured on different campaigns. What does that mean for someone like you who’s known for having a unique style?

Nick Young: It means a lot, especially for me being into shoes, fashion and all that. Just getting noticed for things I do is big.

SLAM: Adidas unveiled the Crazy Explosive ’17 earlier today. Have you hooped in those yet?

NY: Not yet. I just got them today, but they feel comfortable. I told them I need some in every color for the Drew League coming up. I need to test them out, but adidas has been looking out. It’s a family here. They’ve been doing a lot more [for me] than I’ve been getting noticed in the past from other brands. [laughs]

SLAM: Speaking of hooping shoes, what are some of your go-to’s on-court?

NY: I like to go back in the day to the Crazy 8s. I like the Swaggy’s—the [Crazy Explosive with] Boost. Get those, they in stores. They come in all white and there’s some Lakers-colored ones. And they got some All-Star editions that didn’t come out and PEs.

SLAM: And off-court?

NY: I like the Alexander Wang adidas they came out with. Those are fire. The NMDs, of course, and I’m waiting to see what Pharell drops with his new ones.

SLAM: What’s something you look out for whenever you do these grassroots-related events?

NY: Just giving back and seeing the reaction from the kids, talk to the youth and see what’s going on. I ain’t been to a high school game in a while, and just to be out here and be in this environment is fun. It’s always good to give back.

SLAM: AAU has obviously changed drastically since you played. What’s the biggest thing about it today?

NY: If you got a name in AAU, you for sure going to the League now. So I tell them just to stay in the gym because this is where it’s at. They start early just preparing them. I think it’s good for the culture.

SLAM: LaMelo Ball is one those of well-known AAU kids who’s playing tonight. What are your thoughts on his game?

NY: I think it’s nice. I haven’t seen him play live, but I’ve seen videos on Instagram and seeing him do the pull from deep. I think he’s going to be alright. I might stay to watch that.

SLAM: There was a game of his that was recently criticized on social media solely because of his shot selection. How crazy is it to have adults on the Internet criticizing a 15-year-old?

NY: It’s crazy, but I think they’re doing the right thing. Like I said, before the Draft, Ball was the only name I knew, so obviously they’re doing something right. I’ve been talking to my friends about it and they’re going to be alright. They’re known. Daddy got them doing the right thing. He’s got them out there.

SLAM: For someone who’s no stranger to criticism, what advice would you pass to LaMelo as he goes through his basketball journey?

NY: Just stay focused and continue to do you because anyway it goes, they’re going to have something to say even if you try to fit in and do what they want you to do. At the end of the day, just be yourself, stay on the court and stay hooping.

SLAM: LaVar has said some pretty wild things, too. Any take on that?

NY: He do say a lot of wild stuff, but that’s a dad. I would probably say some crazy stuff too if my son was entering the Draft and was one of the top players coming out. He’s just being a dad. He’s going to say he’s better than Jordan. I’m not going to tell my kid Jordan’s better than me any day, so you just gotta take it for what it is. His dad is out there, but he’s a dad at the end of the day.

SLAM: You’re a parent yourself and your son has started playing sports. What kind of sports dad are you?

NY: I get into it a little bit some days. When he isn’t focused, I get a little upset but I try to let him find his way on the court and I don’t tell him anything. I want him to find that love for the game before I force him into it. I want him to love being a kid first before I get him out there training him all day.

Drew Ruiz is a contributor to SLAM. Follow him @DrewRuiz90Photos courtesy of Cassy Athena/adidas