When just about anyone joins the Los Angeles Lakers, they’re immediately asked whether it means more playing in that uniform than others they might have donned. A fun game to play would be bingo with questions about rooting for various Lakers or the franchise in general, the overall greatness the organization has shown over its history or anything that follows those lines.
And if said player is from the basketball hotbed that is Southern California, look out. Those questions get dialed up to the nth degree. Tyson Chandler, having gone from Dominguez High School directly to the NBA, was probably ready for said line of questioning.
“I love this city the way they love me,” Chandler told reporters after the Lakers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. “When you’re homegrown from here, going to high school and all of that, and you’ve had the same fans that have been watching, and you now represent the jersey that everybody has been cheering for their entire lives, you kind of become one.
“I’ve been on the other side and played the villain, now it’s great to be on this side and actually rep ‘em.”
After making batting the ball out for the second straight extra possession he created in the game’s final minute, Chandler showed that it wasn’t merely lip-service when he said he was thrilled to play for the hometown team.
While the ball was still in play, he raised his hand to either signal to reset the offense or start getting the crowd even more riled up and then, when Minnesota had to foul to extend the game, he pounded his chest to enjoy the moment. Just watch his reaction here.
Chandler has reached the stage of his career where it makes sense that coming home would be a priority. That the Lakers had a dire need and wide-open role for him made the fit even better. Now, seeing how much he appears to care about being a Laker, what was considered a tremendous match is now bordering on perfection. This was cool to hear and see.