A Brief History of Nick ‘Swaggy P’ Young Pushing Kobe Bryant’s Buttons

The chief export of Nick Young is confidence, a fact made plain by his self-styled Swaggy P nickname, shot selection and, more than anything else, his willingness to harass Kobe Bryant.

In keeping with the ultra-laid-back persona Young has worked so hard to cultivate, his jabs at Bryant are never mean-spirited. They're typically preceded by a "You guys ready for another one?" glimmer in his eye.

He delivers them with a smile, then follows them with a look around the room or a faux-pensive stare at the ceiling.

Young knows what he's doing—playing to the crowd by poking the bear—and he loves it. He knows it gets a rise out of observers, draws an audience. And Young seems to want nothing more than an audience.

It started early, with some tongue-in-cheek shots on media day back in September.

"Kobe worked out with me," Young told reporters, via Mark Medina of InsideSoCal.com. "I didn’t work out with him. He came to me,” Young said, laughing. “I was showing Kobe the ropes this summer. Just breaking out plays the way he can score in the offense. I had a sitdown coach Byron Scott telling him how he should play.”

It's interesting to note that Young realized his minor zing of Scott didn't test as well as his mention of Bryant. He has focused his subsequent barbs on Kobe as a result.

And Kobe has fired back as well, indicating he's taking Young's comments in the spirit they're intended. On media day, Bryant offered up this gem of a retort to reporters when asked to choose between Iggy Azalea (Young's girlfriend) and Swaggy P: "Iggy. She's been more successful in her career so far."

Bryant's reputation as a tough, overly serious personality colors his interactions with Young. There's always just a hint of Kobe's hyper-competitive menace peeking out from behind the levity, and sometimes we see it erupt.


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