Early morning of July 4, while (most of) Brooklyn slept, D’Angelo Russell was working out, shirtless and alone other than his trainer, on the eighth floor of 168 39th Street in the borough, dribbling, shooting, breaking a sweat. He was just off the plane, Chris Brickley, his trainer, wrote on Instagram.
By our count, this is the fourth time Russell has gotten shots up silhouetted against the New York skyline at HSS Training Center.
This time though, Russell didn’t put it up. While he “liked” his trainer’s post, he didn’t post it, as he had others. In fact, you can’t see the previous workout videos now on Instagram. He’s removed them. No reason given. Certainly, no indication that the team wanted them down.
He was asked about why he posted the videos. It’s for his fans, about keeping in touch.
“I got a lot of young fans that I try to show support to, and they like to see that type of stuff,’’ Russell said. “That’s really where I’m at at that time of the night. I’m not anywhere else. Just try to get out there and show a little support.” And when it’s midnight in Manhattan, it’s 9 p.m. in L.A.“
Or in this case, it’s 11:09 p.m.
Indeed, he does have fans. His first two videos were viewed more than a million times combined, a tribute to his broad —and underestimated— fan appeal. Not a small number of his fans changed their allegiance from the Lakers to the Nets after the trade, even joining NetsDaily.
But there appears to be something else. After Magic Johnson took a swipe at him, D-Lo has showed off his work ethic, his professionalism, in the gym, at the press conference. It’s not that it was an issue in the past, as this fan meme suggests.
Sean Marks told NetsDaily after the press conference about how enthused Russell was about the deal.
“He was very appreciative, very excited, and the first thing he said was ‘can I come up there tonight?’ – I said no, hold on, get some rest,” Marks said, followed by a laugh.
“‘We’re not going to fly and get you on a red eye tonight, but we’ll get you up the next day.’ You can sense there was a hunger, a drive, a purpose to wanting to be here. Let’s be honest, I think we all play with a chip on our shoulder, and he has one.”
At all hours of the day and night.