The sons of NBA players usually get a lot of attention during their high school basketball careers, especially if they’re standout players – which, they usually are. That, however, really wasn’t the case for Larry Nance Jr.
Yes, Nance was a great player growing up, but for whatever reason, he didn’t get much attention, at least not from colleges. In fact, the Akron native and former Revere High School star only had two scholarship offers: Wyoming and Bowling Green.
That was just fine with Larry Nance Sr., a former three-time NBA All-Star. Sure, some people would rave about Nance Jr., but not pops. He supported his son and encouraged him, but he didn’t inflate his ego.
“Everybody else looked at me as, ‘Hey that’s Larry Nance. That’s his kid. He’s going to turn out to be something spectacular,’” Nance Jr. recalled on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “But my dad really never looked at me like that. I was always his son. So whether he was an NBA All-Star, whether he never picked up a basketball in his life, he would have been proud of whatever I would have done. So that’s the biggest thing.”
Nance, of course, wound up at Wyoming, where he averaged double figures during a stellar four-year career. As a senior, he led Wyoming to a 25-10 record and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002.
“If they didn’t know me when I got there,” Nance said of Wyoming fans, “by the end hopefully everybody had a pretty good understanding.”
Nance is hoping he can one day say the same thing about Lakers fans. Los Angeles selected Nance with the 27th overall pick in last week’s NBA Draft. It was one of the best moments of Nance’s life – even if it came with some unwanted attention.
In 2012, Nance, then a teenager, posted a tweet referencing the sexual-assault allegations that were made against Kobe Bryant back in 2003. On draft night, Nance had forgotten all about that tweet.
But not everyone else had.
“Honestly, I was so wrapped up in the moment of hearing my name called that the second my phone buzzed, I just ignored it,” Nance said. “I was celebrating with my family. And then it kept buzzing, buzzing, buzzing. And I happened to look at one of them that said, ‘You might want to delete this.’ And I looked at it and my stomach just dropped immediately. I felt like I was going to throw up. It was just awful. It was awful.”
Nance deleted the tweet and then texted Kobe – calling him “Mr. Bryant” – to apologize. Bryant accepted the apology.
“He’s forgiven me and that just kind of speaks to his character,” Nance said. “I really can’t thank him enough for that.”
Nance knows Bryant may make him pay for that in practice next season, but Nance is okay with that. He’s on board with anything that makes him a better player.
Gottlieb also asked Nance about his potential future involvement in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Nance Sr. won the inaugural NBA showcase in 1984, dunking two balls between the rim on one jump.
Would Nance attempt the same thing?
“I can’t give away all my secrets and everything,” Nance said. “But I can tell you if I’m lucky enough to have the NBA request me to be in the dunk contest, I’ll be there. And you can bet sometime – sometime during it – there will be a nice dad tribute in it.”