Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso has amassed a cult following unlike anything the NBA has seen in quite some time. His highlight reel dunks have gotten national attention as fans don’t expect Caruso to have that type of athleticism.
But those who have watched the Lakers closely have taken notice of how good of an overall player Caruso has been for the team this season. More than the highlights, Caruso has been excellent on defense and has great chemistry with LeBron James.
Simply put, Caruso just seems to find ways to help the team win when he’s on the floor. Caruso recently appeared on “The Lowe Post” podcast with Zach Lowe, explaining there is a balance between enjoying and going along with the highlights, and recognizing his actual talent:
“It’s a fine line between joking about it and people having fun with it, and then people kind of disrespecting how hard I’ve worked to get to this point. … I’m a professional basketball player. This is what I do. They didn’t just give me a two-year contract because I threw a ball in the hoop one time and dunked one time, and everybody got excited on Instagram or Twitter. I’ve put in time, I’ve worked on my game, my body, my craft, to be able to get to this point.
“Like I said, there’s a fine line between having real fans that appreciate what I do and know how hard I play and what I actually bring to the game. And then there’s another group, who, the new word is called ‘casuals.’ That’s what everybody calls somebody who doesn’t have an educated basketball take. Whenever they come in with something it’s like, ‘Oh you must be a casual.’ I’m learning the lingo.
Caruso went on to admit his highlights probably do get shown too much, but he still appreciates the fans who recognize his talent and what he’s done to get to this point:
“There’s a bunch of casuals who, one, either don’t like it because all they see are videos of me on Bleacher Report, House of Highlights or SportsCenter — which they probably do play too many times a month — they probably are over-producing Alex Caruso content. But then there’s the other half that are loyal fans that appreciate how hard I’ve worked. … I can’t knock one side and get mad at the people who think it’s overkill and I’m just here for fun. Because there is a side who truly believes in me and appreciates what I’ve done to get here. Those people are who I play for. I love playing for fans. I love playing in crowds that get excited. It gives me juice and energy to play.”
It has been a long journey for Caruso, who went undrafted in 2016. He spent a year with the Oklahoma City Blue of the G League before joining the Lakers Summer League in 2017 where he earned a two-way contract. After two years, Caruso was finally able to earn his full-time two year contract and has proven that he deserved it.
Needless to say the highlights don’t paint the full picture of the player Alex Caruso is and he wants everyone to recognize that he is a real NBA player, which this season has made clear.
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