Los Angeles Lakers point guard Jordan Clarkson threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday evening, as the LA Dodgers played host to Lakers Night before the game. Also included in the celebratin was the 1988 NBA championship trophy, which arrived escorted by 10 Laker Girls dressed in sparking gold uniforms.
Clarkson told NBCLA Dodgers reporter Michael Duarte that he felt a bit nervous about the first pitch, but overall, he sounded pretty confident about topping Nick Young's, um, interesting delivery a season ago.
Asked about the upcoming season, Clarkson shared his thoughts with NBC: "We got a lot of young guys, including myself. We just got to put it together and work hard. It's not going to happen right out of the jump. It's going to be a day-by-day process for us."
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Even with numerous rookies on the roster--and even Julius Randle practically entering the season as a rookie--Clarkson made sure to include himself in the young guys that need to mature in the upcoming season. Clarkson understanding that his strong finish to the 2014-15 season does not excuse him from the group of unproven talents is a positive sign that sheds light on his maturity. Also, the 23-year-old welcomed Kobe Bryant's comments on the Lakers' roster being good enough to make the playoffs.
"Of course, why would we count ourselves out from making the playoffs?" Clarkson asked rhetorically. "Every NBA team wants to be playing in the postseason."
In a couple responses, Clarkson quickly encapsulated the competitive mindset that allowed him to go from an overlooked second round pick to NBA All-Rookie First Team. Regardless of whether he was playing in a five-point game or a 25-point game, Clarkson managed to accept the challenge and understand the process of improving does not always involve taking huge strides forward.
However, the youngster is effectively the most experienced member of a young contingent that includes lottery picks D'Angelo Russell and Randle. If all the youngsters approach the game with Clarkson's mindset, the Lakers truly have a bright future ahead.
By the way, Clarkson threw a strike. But then, of course he did (see video below).