Nick Young, also known by his nickname, “Swaggy P,” won the 2018 NBA Championship with the Golden State Warriors after sweeping LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on June 3.
Coming from Cleveland High School in Los Angeles, Young was deemed a top-50 recruit entering USC in 2004, ranking as high as No. 7 in the nation in some polls. As a freshman, he averaged 11.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Young continued to improve those numbers over his next two years to average 17.5 points per game during the 2006-2007 season and rank second-best in the conference for scoring and 3-point percentage (44.0 percent). He was selected to the All Pac-10 First Team for both his sophomore and junior seasons for his leadership on the court and impressive numbers.
In his junior year, the Trojans basketball team was a fifth seed in the NCAA tournament when it lost in the Sweet Sixteen under head coach Tim Floyd. Young led the team throughout the regular season alongside Taj Gibson and into the postseason tournament where they defeated powerhouse players like Kevin Durant with the University of Texas.
After the 2006-2007 season, Young chose to forgo his senior season to enter the NBA Draft. He was selected in the first round as the 16th overall pick by the Washington Wizards. As a rookie, he played in 75 games and averaged 7.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. He shot 43.9 percent overall and 40.0 percent from behind the arc. In the following two seasons, Young continued to establish himself as a reliable shooter for the Wizards by ranking 16th in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage during the 2009-2010 season.
Young eventually earned his spot as a starter for the Wizards until he was traded in 2012 to play for the Los Angeles Clippers. Future teammate Javale McGee also left the Wizards at the same time, and would later reconnect for a championship in Northern California.
On average, Young contributed 8.3 points per game in the Clippers’ 11 playoff games that season. In the 2012-2013 season, Young played for the Philadelphia 76ers, where he held a 41.3 field goal percentage and averaged 10.6 points per game.
Young quickly returned home when he began playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2013. As a bench player, he averaged 18.8 points per game and even tallied two 40-point games. Those games ranked as the two highest scoring games for a bench player in the league that season. He continued to shine with the Lakers (and play with Kobe Bryant during his farewell tour) until Young finally earned his starting spot in the 2016-2017 season, averaging 13.2 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
Last summer, Young signed with the Warriors, where he would reunite with McGee and become teammates with his cousin, Kevon Looney, to win the NBA title. He averaged 7.3 points per game throughout the season and only 2.6 points per game in the playoffs. Young did, however, start in place of Stephen Curry through Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the New Orleans Pelicans while Curry recovered from injury. He helped the Warriors through the playoffs and into the finals, where they would win the title.
Young is now the fifth USC alumnus to win an NBA Championship, placing himself in the company of greats like Bill Sharman and Paul Westphal.