Count Cody Bellinger among the Los Angeles sports fans enjoying the Lonzo Ball Show this summer, but don’t think for a second he wishes it was the Cody Bellinger Show.
Bellinger, the Dodgers’ 22-year-old phenom and the overwhelming favorite to win the National League Rookie of the Year award, is a microcosm for his team: a reserved, wide-eyed player with immense talent who is laser-focused on delivering the team its first championship since 1988. Born and raised in a suburb of Phoenix, Bellinger hasn’t let his newfound celebrity status in a major city sidetrack his mission.
“I’m a laid-back guy, so being all over TV … that’s cool, but at the end of the day, it’s whatever,” Bellinger said. “They can have cameras following [Lonzo] all over the place.”
“It’s more than basketball with that,” Smith says when asked about Carlisle’s words. “That’s the way I was raised to be as a man. That’s a credit to my whole family, especially my father. It just translates from being a man on to basketball.”
After spending time with the senior Smith in Las Vegas this week, Carlisle agrees:
“I’ve gotten to know his dad a little bit, sat with him during the second game, and I can see why he’s a kid with strong character.”
Smith, the ninth overall pick in last month’s NBA Draft, joins the Mavericks as a future face of the franchise, something made even more important due to Dirk Nowitzki’s career drawing near an end. The Mavericks hadn’t owned their own top-10 draft pick since Nowitzki was selected No. 9 Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys in 1998. They felt certain that Smith was a top-five talent in the draft, putting him Cheap Paintball Jerseys And Pants out of their reach.
But when the New York Knicks selected Frank Ntilikina one pick before, Carlisle says the Mavericks draft room erupted into “thunderous applause” knowing the guy they truly wanted was still on the board.