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Byron Scott – Baby B

2015 January 24

• dEDGE Post Scriptum •      PART I of III

The elevation “B” got on his jump-shot was simply mind-boggling. It was as if he was shooting downward from far above in the heavens, raining down buckets in effortless fashion. His right forearm was always perfectly perpendicular to his bicep, raising the ball aloft in a fluid, piston-like fashion. The ball release rotated precisely in orbit as it fluttered off of his fingertips with the end result being a distinct crackle of the nets. Time after time, defenses would double-down on the Lakers’ dominant post players and the Showtime bigs would simply kick the ball out to their young, sharpshooter. Scott would drive to the basket just as ferociously, slamming down monstrous dunks over 7-footers or anyone else stupid enough to get in his way. Whereas Showtime was all about Magic, Kareem and Big Game James, the Lakers did not defeat the Boston Celtics until an Inglewood native blossomed into the perennial two-guard on a roster teeming of megastars.

Byron Scott

Byron "Baby B" Scott rises up for his signature jump shot against the Boston Celtics in the 1987 NBA Finals. Copyrights may apply. All rights reserved.

Byron Scott was born to wear purple and gold. The Morningside High School star used to sneak into the Fabulous Forum to watch his hometown Lakers take the floor. He loved routing for Jerry West, Gail Goodrich and Wilt Chamberlain, but Scott’s favorite player was a future teammate-to-be, Bob McAdoo. He was in awe that a 6′-11″ post player could shoot the ball better than most guards. Scott was an all-around athlete who excelled in everything he attempted. His strong arm easily propelled a football halfway down the field. That same skill-set made him a formidable pitcher on the mound. But his love was on the asphalt courts that surrounded his City of Angels. The playground legend’s running mates were none other than Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis, both future all-stars in MLB. The trio would command court all day, toss around the pigskin, then propel home runs over the chain-linked fences until the floodlights eventually flickered off. But as baseball became more and more of a reality for his friends, Scott knew his athletic talents were destined for the hardwood.

Scott yearned to stay local and attend UCLA, but the coach, Gary Cunningham abruptly resigned, leaving the Bruins coach-less and Scott looking for alternatives. By the time Larry Brown was hired in Westwood, Scott had already decided to attend Arizona State University. It proved to be a very good fit for him. He knew going in that the starting two-guard position was his for the taking. Scott formed a deadly trio with  future NBA first-rounders, Lafayette “Fats” Lever and Alton Lister. His desire and talent matched that of his two older teammates, and soon Scott was thinking that he too, could someday compete in the NBA as well. After three successful seasons at ASU, Scott left school early as the Sun Devil’s all-time leading scorer. He applied for the 1983 NBA Draft and was selected 4th overall by the San Diego Clippers. Scott was happy that he was able to remain in Southern California, close to family and friends, but was simply ecstatic when he learned that he, along with center Swen Nater, were traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Norm Nixon, Eddie Jordan and draft picks.

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