Lance Stephenson is, quite simply, an enigma. Whenever the Brooklyn native hits the hardwood, he’s always looking to put on a show for fans. His eclectic personality aligns with his erratic play, as you never know what you’re going to get from the streaky Stephenson on a nightly basis, making him a perfect fit off the bench for the new cast of showtime Lakers.
Prior to the Lakers’ matchup with the Nets in Brooklyn, the 28-year-old stopped by the NBA Store on New York City’s Fifth Ave. for a meet-and-greet signing with fans Monday (Dec. 17), as hundreds braved the frigid temps outside to line up for a chance to meet their hometown hero.
Billboard caught up with the charismatic Stephenson just before the event began. Born Ready discussed getting back in the booth to record with point guard-rapper Lonzo Ball, listening to Jay-Z‘s “What More Can I Say” and Meek Mill’s “Trauma” before games, his favorite albums of 2018, and the awkward encounter that was meeting LeBron James for the first time as teammates.
Check out our conversation with the Lakers baller below.
What does it mean to come home and play in front of your hometown fans in Brooklyn?
It’s crazy playing in front of friends and family. Just being back home is giving me that extra boost of energy. I want to do something special for the fans and have fun, but win the game most importantly.
When you come back to Brooklyn, what are some things you have to do?
I usually go back home to my neighborhood and then I go to all my favorite restaurants. Dallas BBQ, I always go there. They’ve got the best chicken wings in the world.
What’s it like to be playing on Christmas once again this year?
It’s going to be fun. I’ve only did it once when I was with the Clippers. I think this time is going to be even more special, being on the Lakers and playing against the Warriors. It’s going to be crazy. I’m going to do some crazy kicks.
Were there any misconceptions you had about LeBron or vise-versa since you guys have teamed up? There was quite the history between you two.
He’s actually very cool, and I didn’t expect it. He works very hard and he’s a great teammate. He really pushes everyone. Playing against him all the time, I didn’t think he liked me. First meeting him, I didn’t know what to say. What do you say to the person you’ve battled with and got into it with? It was kind of weird, but he’s actually a cool guy and I like being around him.
Who are some artists we’d hear on your pre-game playlist?
Definitely Drake, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, Tupac, and Meek Mill. That Championships album is hard. “Trauma” is my joint right now. I like Fabolous, Cardi B, and Nicki Minaj. I play music all day. Hype music [before games] and I’ll mess around and start dancing.
Is that you on the Lakers’ AUX cord before games?
Actually, Lonzo [Ball] likes to control the AUX cord. He’s got all the music playing. One of his favorite artists is Lil Baby.
What do you think about Lonzo’s rapping ability?
He’s nice. We actually did a song. We’re waiting to put it out. JaVale McGee produced it. We been supposed to put it out, but we’re taking our time with it. Right now, it’s just one song. Let’s see how this one song can do and then we’ll look at putting out a project.
What are your top rap albums of the year?
Are we going to get a rapping project out of you soon?
I’ve got songs, but I’m taking my time with it. I’m trying to focus on basketball right now and get that going. Off-season for sure.
What was it like popping up at that Zumba class?
It was actually fun. I did that right before the season. Just having fun and showing my personality. A lot of people see the tough aggressive Lance on the court and they get to see another side of me.
Are we going to continue to see the air guitar celebration on the court?
Yeah, I’m not stopping that.
–: B/R pic.twitter.com/XWfBMjSjtF
— The Majors LA — (@TheMajorsLA) December 16, 2018
What’s the biggest difference between being a Laker versus a Clipper?
The [spotlight] is definitely tremendous being a Laker. Being with a winning franchise and we have a great team. It’s just amazing right now, especially from me bouncing around on different teams. Now, I’m back to playing and winning.