By Abbas Haleem
It’s not every day the NBA-best Golden State Warriors are in Chicago, and it’s even less frequent that they practice at the Goodman Center, home of the Roosevelt University Lakers.
That’s why Lakers guard Jake Ludwig waited in the lobby Tuesday afternoon, positioned strategically in front of the gym entrance with his phone above his head to snag selfies with the Warriors as they were headed to the bus after practice.
The other players felt the same way and followed suit to post photos of themselves with the Warriors on social media that are sure to get them plenty of likes.
“I thought he was shorter, but he’s like the same height as me, so that was cool. Some of the guys look huge,” said Lakers swingman Damian Zalewski.
The Warriors were unable to practice at the United Center Tuesday because of a Bruce Springsteen concert, so they booked Roosevelt’s court for practice a day before playing the Chicago Bulls. Although the reservation was made weeks ago, Lakers players didn’t find out until the practice was ending, said Joe Griffin, Roosevelt men’s basketball coach.
Roosevelt has hosted other NBA teams, including the Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks and the Los Angeles Clippers. Athletic Director Michael Cassidy said in an email the key is to try to make these visits easy and private for teams, similar to what their experience would be at the UC.
Zalewski and Lakers guard Kyle Bumbalough said they saw a Snapchat of the NBA team and rushed over to the gym. Bumbalough said it was exciting to see the reigning NBA champions and MVP shoot around on his home court.
“I got to see the very end when they were shooting some free throws and whatnot, but it was pretty sweet,” said Bumbalough, who said he only saw Warriors point guard Steph Curry miss “once or twice” in the final minutes of practice he was able to catch. “I’ve always seen them on TV, and seeing them in real life is just — it didn’t even seem right.”
Warriors at work in Chicago at practice on Tuesday https://t.co/VP3IQPcBt5
— Laurence Scott (@LaurenceScott) January 19, 2016
Lakers forward Josh Dillingham, however, said he didn’t even see any of Curry’s shots touch the rim as they went in. He mentioned he is a big LeBron James fan and would cheer for the Cleveland Cavaliers when the teams play again, but he said it was still cool to see the Warriors. He asked Curry for a photo.
“When we were taking the picture, I’ve got a LeBron case, and the girl who was taking the picture on my phone, I don’t know if he saw the LeBron case or what,” Dillingham said.
Lakers co-captain Jason Markus asked Curry about stopping Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler Wednesday night and said Curry told him he’s “not worried about Jimmy Buckets.”
Curry wasn’t the only one to connect with the Lakers, though. Dillingham also said he opened the door for Draymond Green, the Warriors forward who played for Michigan State before being drafted. Green reconnected with Griffin, who became an assistant coach with the Spartans basketball team in 2006. Green came in as a freshman in 2012, the year Griffin said he left.
“I’ve aged a lot more than he has in that time, but he still recognized me, so that’s good,” Griffin said.
— Roosevelt Lakers MBK (@RULakersMBK) January 19, 2016