In the next wave of Laker interviews at Media Day, we talked to a couple more new Lakers. Darius Johnson-Odom was drafted in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks before he was moved to the Lakers almost immediately. He’s trying to make the main roster. And the other Laker is Jodie Meeks, who came over here from Philadelphia as a free agent. Meeks is very much expected to back up Kobe Bryant on the 2-guard spot.
Let’s get to know them a little bit more.
FORUM BLUE & GOLD: How does it feel to be a Laker?
DARIUS JOHNSON-ODOM: It’s a surreal moment. I’ve always been a Laker fan. To be in this jersey right now and to be in this moment, it’s a surreal moment like I said. I’m just happy to be here.
FB&G: What do you feel your role is going to be?
DJO: I just wanna help the team as much as possible. Be that defensive stopper for the perimeter. Make open shots. If I’m able to do that, then I help the team tremendously.
FB&G: Who was your favorite Laker growing up?
DJO: I’ve always been a Kobe Bryant fan. So it was kinda weird to walk right past by him and talk to him.
FB&G: When you were drafted (there was no Howard/Nash), what did you think when you heard the news?
DJO: After I heard my last name, I just ran over and hugged my family. I didn’t even hear the team. I was just happy, being from North Carolina and being through all these tribulations as far as working hard, trying to get another school, trying to get to Marquette… it was just a surreal moment for me and I was just happy.
FB&G: We saw your between-the-legs dunk on Twitter recently. Do you consider yourself the best dunker on the Lakers?
DJO: Definitely. Hands down.
FB&G: Better than Dwight? Better than prime Kobe?
DJO: Prime Kobe? That’s a little different. Better than Dwight? I would say so.
FORUM BLUE & GOLD: You chose the Lakers. Was it a hard choice?
JODIE MEEKS: It wasn’t hard at all. I was just waiting for the right opportunity for myself. Once they called, I was ready to go.
FB&G: It wasn’t about the money…
JM: No, not at all. I could’ve signed for more money but money’s not everything to me. I would rather win and compete for a championship. I wanna learn from the best in the game: Kobe, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Antawn Jamison, Metta World Peace or Ron Artest, whatever you wanna call him… I’m looking forward to it.
FB&G: Who else was going after you during the summer?
JM: It was a lot of teams. The Wizards, Golden State, Chicago, Houston… but for me, this is the best fit for myself.
FB&G: Any extra pressure performing here under the L.A. bright lights?
JM: Not extra pressure. It’s motivation. We’re going to be everybody’s big game. There’s really not a game where we can just say, “Maybe we can just relax tonight.” No, everybody’s going to try to beat us. We can’t go 82-0. But we wanna give a good effort every time.
FB&G: You’re known as a 3-pt shooter. Anything else you worked on during the summer?
JM: Pretty much everything. Ballhandling. Come off pick-and-rolls. Come off screens. I think of myself as more than a spot-up shooter but I do that because that’s my role.
FB&G: Lastly, has Kobe given you a hard time so far?
JM: Not yet! Today was the first day I met him. But as the season goes along and I get to know him better, I’ll pick his brain and try to learn as much as I can from him.
FB&G: Good luck in the season!