Laker’s Alex Caruso Special Guest on AfterBuzz TV ‘The Last Dance’ After Show

NBA Fan-Favorite and Lakers’ Alex Caruso reveals Michael Jordan’s influence on his career, thoughts on ‘The Last Dance’ and his Lebron James vs MJ G.O.A.T debate on AfterBuzz TV’s Last Dance After Show

Haley Graves

AfterBuzz TV Host & Writer
Posted On: Month Day, 2020 time pm pst

Maria Menounos
Keven Undergaro
AfterBuzz TV Founders

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.

ABTV Loves The Last Dance with Lakers’ Alex Caruso

Lakers shooting guard Alex Caruso joined hosts Haley Graves, Jess Lucero and Jet Striar as a special guest on AfterBuzz TV’s The Last Dance: Episodes 3 & 4 aftershow. 

“It’s like a kid on Christmas for me.” Caruso said about how he felt regarding The Last Dance

Alex Caruso is a current player for the Los Angeles Lakers and fan-favorite. The undrafted shooting guard has a story of perseverance, determination and passion that helped him achieve his ultimate goal of playing in the NBA. He signed with the G-League out of college in 2016 and a year later was signing a 2-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Caruso is the first ever player to go from the G-League to the NBA on this type of contract. 

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Caruso credited Michael Jordan, as well as, others such as Kobe Bryant, in the shaping of his passion for basketball. 

“Anybody who was post-jordan birth… that was like your hero.” said Caruso. In fact, he went on to describe having a six disc DVD set that he received for his birthday around 10-years-old that showcased Jordan’s highest scoring games and his top plays. 

However, for Caruso it wasn’t just Michael Jordan’s physical abilities and talent that drew Caruso to the superstar. 

The Lakers shooting guard placed emphasis on Jordan’s competitiveness. “[It] was how he talked about competing to win” said Caruso, “that’s something that I always did as a kid. I’ve had that competitive drive, and that’s from him… that was the goal… and still to this day how I play basketball.” 

[12:14] He went on to describe how his mentality, work ethic and the way he attacked the game was influenced by both MJ and Kobe. “Kobe used to talk about how if you put in three hours in one day and three hours the next day, and then three hours the day after that – one day someone won’t put in those three hours and that’s where you eclipse them.” 

Caruso reflected this was exactly what he did to achieve his own goals. “I just continued to work, so it was a consistency thing mixed with my passion for basketball and for winning. That got me to where I am now and hopefully continue…”

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Although, of course, Jordan’s tenacity and spice on the court also influenced how Caruso plays and still plays to this day. He pointed out that at a young age his obsession with dunking and how Jordan would float through the air like a superhero is what inspired him to do the same. 

He provided his own anecdote of an “MJ moment from the 2016 NCAA tournament. Texas A&M, Caruso’s collegiate team, was down by 12 points with 44 seconds to go. The team completed the greatest comeback in NCAA tournament history to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. A win that will be immortalized forever. 

“I think we had less than .001 chance to win that game,” Caruso recalled. 

He went on to describe a special moment from that game. “After we won in double overtime, I have a picture that I’ll always remember. It’s me jumping in the air hitting a fist bump kind of like how Jordan did after he hit the shot on Craig Ehlo.” 

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Since reminiscing is all I have now 🏀

A post shared by Alex Caruso (@acfresh21) on

This story was perfect timing considering “The Shot” by Jordan was discussed in Part 2 of the docu-series. 

(Image by Eddie Wagner, Chicago Tribune – https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/bulls/ct-bulls-cavaliers-history-spt-0515-20150514-story.html

As we continued, we had to get Caruso’s thoughts on the craziness of these two episodes. Based on his Twitter reactions, he was most taken aback by Dennis Rodman’s hiatus to Las Vegas in the middle of the NBA season, and the physicality of the ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons. 

On the physicality – “I knew about the ‘Jordan Rules’ being a basketball junkie… If you weren’t going to win the game, you were going to win the fight.” He went on to add, “I would love to be a fly on the wall for the referee association in the late 80s.” 

And wouldn’t we all, those refs going into matchups knowing a fight or brawl was almost guaranteed to happen. Caruso also mentioned that the problem was due to the fact only the first foul was called in these games, so players knew they could get away with anything after that. 

We then asked Caruso his thoughts regarding a player attempting to pull what Dennis Rodman did. (In Episodes 3 and 4, it was revealed that Dennis Rodman asked Coach Phil Jackson if he could take a 48 hour vacation to Las Vegas, in the middle of the NBA season). 

“It’s such a perfect storm for that to happen with no media coverage, the coach being Phil and the team having who they did. I just couldn’t see that happening with any team on any circumstance in the present time.” 

He jokingly added, “Imagine Steven A Smith talking about Alex Caruso’s four day sabbatical..” 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IYst91iivsQ?start=1711

One of the most significant storylines on Sunday night was between Dennis Rodman and coach Phil Jackson. The two had an indescribable bond, one many give praise to Jackson for because he was the only one who understood the league’s “bad boy”.

Caruso meditated on the fact he had a coach affect him in a similar way.

 “My G-league coach for the last two years when I was in South Bay, Coby Karl – his Dad, for anyone who doesn’t know is George Karl, famous, NBA great coach,” started Caruso, “Coby got to know Phil [Jackson] for a little when he was with the Lakers trying to play professionally.” 

Caruso added that him and Karl would work on the mental aspect of the game during his two years on two-way contracts with the Lakers. “He adapted the philosophy that Phil did that it’s gotta be players first… And you saw that [in Jackson] through the episodes.” 

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Before Caruso said his farewells, we had to get his thoughts on the ongoing G.O.A.T debate between Michael Jordan and Caruso’s teammate, Lebron James. 

“Current basketball players don’t bring it up. I think there’s just such a respect for their individual accomplishments.” Caruso also mentioned the debate occurs more predominantly between fans and retired players. 

He also praised Lebron on his work ethic saying, “That’s what’s the difference between good and great… His work ethic is up there next to anyone I’ve ever been around and that’s why he’s killing it in year 17. 

The Lakers fan-favorite wrapped up his time with us giving one piece of advice to anyone that needs it during these unprecedented Covid-19 times as he tied things back to mindset. 

 “Whether it’s me coming back to play an NBA season and playoffs or whether it’s someone preparing to go back to work or someone taking care of their family, it’s an everyday mindset, you gotta win the day. Whatever you can do to make it the best of the circumstances, you gotta do it and run with it. You know these are unprecedented times.. But just wake up every day and try to win the day.” 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IYst91iivsQ?start=1888

Win the day. That’s exactly what Alex Caruso and Michael Jordan always have done, and something I believe everyone can learn from and grow into. 

The Last Dance airs two episodes on ESPN and ESPN2 every Sunday at 9pm ET. Episodes five and six will release on Sunday, May 3. To catch up on the first four episodes, head to Netflix and Hulu, and then each Monday night at 10pm ET tune in to AfterBuzz TV’s live after show on YouTube. 

If you love Michael Jordan, and The Last Dance like ABTV Loves The Last Dance, share this article with a friend.  Tune in daily to AfterbuzzTV for articles, aftershows, and all the latest news on the world of entertainment.

About The Author:

Haley Graves is a host at AfterBuzz TV. She co-hosts on the panels for NBC’s This Is Us, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and CW’s Legacies.

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence

“We don’t just celebrate and cover the top shows, content and stars, we celebrate and cover ALL the shows, content and stars.”

Maria Menounos

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