The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t have much to play for down the stretch of the 2018-19 NBA season due to major injuries to LeBron James and the young core. Despite the 2019 NBA playoffs being out of reach in late March, fans everywhere rallied around the play of one player in particular, Alex Caruso.
With Caruso’s non-stop effort and unexpected athleticism leading to some highlight-reel plays, he became a fan favorite in the final weeks of the season and the two-way player enjoyed every minute of it.
“It’s been fun just to start just because I love playing basketball and competing and hearing the crowd cheer and just being excited. That’s passionate for me and I really love that part of the game, so the way I play is kind of infectious,” Caruso noted during his recent exit interview.
“Fans tend to just gravitate towards it. They’ve done it my whole career. Just the way that I sacrifice my body, play really hard, show emotion. I think Lakers fans are very intuitive when it comes to the game of basketball. They know what good basketball is, they’ve seen it for decades, so I think they just appreciated that.”
The question now regarding Caruso is whether or not he will remain with the Lakers moving forward. The 25-year-old’s two-way contract has expired and he will be a restricted free agent this offseason. With how well Caruso played at the end of the season, he will surely draw some interest.
Wherever Caruso ends up, he will likely endear himself to the fanbase once again in the same way he always does — by being himself.
“I just went out there and was myself,” Caruso explained. “I didn’t do anything special, I didn’t cater to a particular tweet or any fan yelling at me before the game telling me to go for 60 or something like that. I just went out there and played as hard as I could. That’s just the recurring theme with my basketball career. I do that and people seem to gravitate towards it.”