If you were a Lakers fan, it is no surprise that the main buzz for Laker fans heading into the current season would be the excitement surrounding the tandem pairing of Lebron James and Anthony Davis. To say the least, the pairing has paid off as the Lakers are at the top of the Western Conference. Dwight Howard’s stellar play this season has only added to the team’s stellar morale. However, there is one Laker that has gained cult-like status on the Internet due to his unexpected spark: Alex Caruso.
In order to appreciate his success, one must be aware of the journey. After playing college ball at Texas A&M, Caruso would become chopped liver as he wasn’t selected in the 2016 NBA draft. Thus, Alex Caruso would start off playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s G-League team. He would go on to play for the Lakers’ G league affiliate, the South Bay Lakers. After an excellent showing at the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League, Caruso would spend the next two seasons playing on a 2-way contract.
Caruso appeared in 37 games during the 2017-2018 season and average 8.6 points per game. During the 2018-2019 season, Caruso would appear in just 25 games. Yet, his scoring average improved to 15.5 points per game. Caruso would become a highlight reel. One example is his emphatic put-back dunk against the Golden State Warriors on April 4th 2019. Caruso soared over Kevin Durant for the epic finish as Lebron and the Lakers watched in amazement from the bench.
Caruso’s official coming out party was his 32 point, 10 rebound performance (both career highs) against the L.A Clippers on April 10th 2019. The writing was on the wall.
Caruso’s emergence in limited action was enough for the Lakers to put him on their main roster for the 2019-2020 season.
With an average of 11.0 ppg this season, Caruso has been a reliable scorer off the bench and has maintained his status of being a fan favorite.
To be honest, Alex Caruso may have the most nicknames in the NBA. He has been nicknamed “Bald Mamba”, ”Bald Eagle” and “Carushow”. Lebron has been known to call Alex Caruso “G.O.A.T” every time he sees him.
Recently, another nickname has been added to the list:“Headband Caruso”.
On January 5th 2020, Alex Caruso wore a headband for the first time ever during a game against the Detroit Pistons. True to form, Caruso would have an epic breakaway dunk during a 14-0 run by the Lakers in the 4th quarter of that game. Then, he threw a wicked reverse dunk against the Knicks a couple of days later. After that play, he made a headband gesture. His teammates did likewise.
After the game, Caruso revealed that the gesture was merely an acknowledgement that the headband is there. However, he also said that he and Javale McGee jokes that Caruso’s headband may have “superpowers”.
I can safely say that many Lakers fans won’t mind if this theory is correct.