Larry Nance Jr. visits Activision’s "Call of Duty: WWII" booth during E3 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. is one of the many players on his team and in the NBA for that matter that loves gaming. Video games have become a big part of the sports industry from popular franchises like Madden, FIFA, NBA2K and NBA Live.
Nance was in attendance at E3 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center earlier this month. A few other up-and-coming stars in the NBA were also in attendance like Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns. WWE’s The Big Show was also seen at the event.
The Lakers star did the rounds at the annual event in downtown Los Angeles playing demos and taking in the atmosphere across the street from where he showcases his high-fly act for Lakers at the Staples Center during the NBA season.
The 24-year-old took some time out of his schedule to talk to AXS.com about his experience at E3, his love for gaming and what he’s working on during the offseason in preparation for the 2017-18 NBA season in purple and gold.
Ryan Ward: You’re an avid gamer, right?
Larry Nance Jr: "I am, yes. When I’m not playing basketball, video games is more than likely what I’m doing."
You recently attended E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. How was your experience at the event?
LN: "It was great! I went last year as well. It is always a lot of fun."
Were there any game demos you were looking forward to playing at E3 this year?
LN: "The main two were Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: WWII, and I got to play both right away. That set my day off pretty good, so I was really enjoying that. They’re both going to be awesome games. I’m going to buy them both for sure."
Which game did you like better: Destiny 2 or Call of Duty: WWII?
LN: "They’re both so different. I’m a huge fan of both of the series, but in terms of the demo, I was better at Call of Duty. So I’ll say that one."
What kind of video games do you like playing the most? First-person shooters like Call of Duty: WWII or sports games like FIFA 18 or NBA2K17?
LN: "I’m a major FIFA fan as well, but I’d say my favorite are first-person shooters."
Did you get a chance to play FIFA 18 at E3?
LN: "I did. I got a chance to play it. They had it on pro or rookie or whatever the lowest setting is. It was okay, but I’m more of like a world-class legendary-type guy myself, so I’m looking forward to it when it comes out. That’s another one I’ll have on the release date for sure."
Does it trip you out when you get to play as yourself in a game like NBA2K17?
LN: "That’s actually one game that I’m not a major fan of. I’m just not very good at it, and it’s slightly irritating like when my guy misses a shot that like, come on, I’ll make that. So I’ll start yelling at the TV. It’s a bad situation all around."
So it is easier to get frustrated playing that game?
LN: "[Laughs] Exactly!"
A few of your Lakers teammates are avid gamers as well. Do you play against any of your teammates often?
LN: "Oh yeah! Me and Ivica Zubac are FIFA buffs. Whenever we’re on the road that’s pretty much what we do. We get there, set up the Xbox and play some FIFA. D’Angelo [Russell] is a gamer as well. Jordan [Clarkson] plays Mario Kart, so we’ll play that with him. We have a lot of fun with our own road games."
So FIFA 17 is your favorite game right now?
LN: "One of two, yes. FIFA and then there’s Rainbow Six Siege."
So you’re one of those tactical guys, huh?
LN: "I’m very much so a tactical guy, yes."
Have you tried Battlefield 1?
LN: "I haven’t tried it, but everyone says it is really good, though. I’ll give it a shot."
E3 was kind of mayhem this year. This is the first year that I went, and I was like, ‘Wow!’ You could barely move in there, especially with you, I’m sure you stuck out like a sore thumb being as tall as you are?
LN: "Exactly, yes! If anyone looked up, there I was, but it was cool getting to see the general public getting in there playing the games as well. It did make it a little bit more of a hassle to play each game, but at the same time, it kind of made it more worth it because you had the buildup of anticipation.
What platform do you play on? Do you play on Xbox One or PS4?
LN: "I’m an Xbox guy myself."
On to a few Lakers topics, NBA Dunk of the Year? You’ve got that in the bag, right?
LN: "No question."
What are you working on during the NBA offseason? Do you have any particular goal for next season?
LN: "The biggest thing is I really want to come back and be in the best shape I’ve ever been in because now with Lonzo [Ball], Brandon [Ingram], and some of the guys we have running the wing it is going to be super important if I can get to run on the wing and being athletic out there. That’ll be a lot of fun and a major step to getting the Showtime era back.
"And shooting, obviously. I’ve proven I can shoot the 15 to 18-footer and now the next step is stretching that out to the three. It is going really well, so I’m looking forward to showing that this season."
How have things been different since Magic Johnson took over as Lakers president of basketball operations? Has he worked on anything with you in particular?
LN: "It has been a tall task since he showed up. We’re kind of the bottom of the barrel in terms of Western Conference teams. He’s had a lot to do and had a lot on his plate. It is kind like a mindset change since he’s been here. Obviously, he brought in Rob Pelinka whose done a great job. Luke [Walton] is one of the best coaches there is.
"The culture is changing, and I think he is really looking to change this thing up and get us on a winning path pretty quickly."
What about Lamar Odom? He’s been seen at the Lakers practice facility frequently over the last few weeks. Has he worked with you at all?
LN: "He’s been in quite a bit. He’s more of the type to kind of stay on the side, watch, and if he sees something, then he’ll step in and correct you or give you a tip here and there.
"It’s been good. Having these ex-players around has been really good for us. I’m sure they’ve seen things that we haven’t yet being so young and new to the game."
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