Nick Young, His Mohawk, His Girlfriend, His Movie
With the 16th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, I just wanted the Washington Wizards to select someone with a smidgen of personality. They took Nick Young. Here's what I've found out about Nick Young.
* He's dating Carol Rodriguez, Puerto Rico's 2006 Women's Athlete of the Year and one of the top collegiate sprinters in the country, who also happens to be a model.
* He's been known to sport a mohawk now and then, and actually claimed credit tonight for making the mohawk fashionable. He's also had his initials and the Jordan Brand logo shaved into his head at various times, and he said he might bring back the mohawk next fall "just to fit in with the Wizards," which is the right way to approach this team.
* He also has been known to wear skateboard gear featuring images of skeletons, and in fact said he used to skateboard when growing up in the San Fernando Valley.
* He has a reputation for being quite the dunker, and told me that he has "immense hops" and "flying ability." "I should be in the dunk contest, maybe this year," he said, "doing some Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins."
* He was the only player in the Green Room with a two-toned outfit; dark slacks and a white coat. "I come from L.A. this is how we do it in L.A.," he told me. "I'm more of mainstream Hollywood."
Which was an apt phrase, considering Young is also the subject of a documentary, "Second Chance Season," which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival last week. After originally intending to make Young part of a pilot for a regional television series, the filmmakers instead followed Young throughout his senior year of high school, as he battled with academic and eligibility issues, and as his family continued to grapple with the shooting death of Charles Young Jr., the oldest of five kids. NCAA restrictions meant the film couldn't be released while Young was in college, which led to the release this month, and the filmmakers had three cameras at the draft so that they could complete the story. They're rushing the footage back to L.A. Friday morning, will re-edit the ending and show a final screening on Sunday, and then start talking to distributors.
The director and co-producer, Daniel Forer, watched the draft tonight among the masses in Madison Square Garden. And Forer--a nine-time Emmy winner who used to be a producer/director for CBS Sports--is sort of high on this Nick Young fella.
"In 30 years, I've covered probably hundreds if not thousands of athletes; a handful of them had the personality and charisma, the infectious personality of Nick Young," he said. "And I can say Muhammad Ali, Brett Favre, Magic Johnson...."
"Come on," I said.
"Oh, you have no idea," Forer said. "Washington has no idea what they have now got in Nick Young. No one knows. He is one of the most wonderful, joyous people you will ever meet in your life. And he will make everyone forget about their problems and just enjoy watching him and the Wizards. It is a gift.
"It's hard to believe," he admitted as I stared at him. "I was there in Los Angeles when Magic started, the first year he arrived, and Los Angeles had no idea what they were getting. Washington has no idea what they're getting in Nick Young. He is a blessing, a gift. Now I'm not saying on the court, I don't know how he'll perform, but off the court he's just a special human being."
I gave the spiel about the Wizards, and their various quirks, and Gilbert Arenas, trying to see whether Young would fit in, but Forer knows all about Gilbert.
"If you think Gilbert was quirky and liked to kid around, you ain't seen nothing yet," Forer said. "I'm serious."
So anyhow, I guess Nick Young has a smidgen of personality.
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