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James Worthy

James Worthy grew up in North Carolina and became a star for the Tar Heels, but once the Lakers drafted him No. 1 overall in 1982, he became a stalwart of Los Angeles. Worthy played 12 seasons for the Lakers and won three NBA titles and an NBA Finals MVP. Although his playing days are long over, Worthy is still around the franchise as a TV analyst for Spectrum SportsNet in Los Angeles. He is right at the forefront of the Lakers' on-court -- and off-court -- storylines.

ThePostGame: For you, being a No. 1 overall pick, did you feel pressure coming into the league or did playing for the Lakers take away some of that pressure?
JAMES WORTHY: I think playing for the Lakers took away some of the responsibility that most No. 1 picks get because No. 1 picks usually go to the worst team. They have a tendency to have a lot of expectations. For me, it was a blessing in disguise to go to a team that really didn’t need me, at the time. They had Bob McAdoo, a Hall of Famer on the bench, Jamaal Wilkes, a Hall of Famer, Magic and Kareem, both Hall of Famers and Michael Cooper, who will probably be a Hall of Famer at some point. I was able to learn and come in slowly without a lot of pressure added.

TPG: You look at the Lakers right now, you have back-to-back No. 2 picks, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. Being around the team, being in broadcasting, what do you see about the pressure that those guys have right now?
WORTHY: I think the pressure that these young guys have today isn't even basketball-related. It's the media, it's Twitter, it's being under the microscope all the time for missing a few shots in the game. As far as their game, I think they are on schedule. They are first- and second-year players. You have to give them a chance to grow a little bit. Brandon Ingram is exceeding his expectations. Kobe Bryant didn't start right away. I didn't start right away. I had to wait my time and sit behind others. We need to get away from being so critical on a daily basis and allow these guys to grow. I think that's their biggest challenge.

TPG: Kyle Kuzma, is that a guy that you saw in summer league and realized his potential? Or was it not until the season started until you realized that he was so talented?
WORTHY: I saw it in some pick-up games, and I saw it in summer league that he had something special. Hopefully, during All-Star Weekend, he'll have a chance to showcase his talents in the Rising Stars Challenge. I know a lot of people are expecting to see him. He has a lot of innate ability, footwork, he's ambidextrous and the one thing that he has overall, is that he's not afraid. He has an attitude that, 'I'm going to play and leave everything on the floor.' Being the No. 27 pick was a special gift. It was unexpected from most people.

TPG: Being such a prominent Lakers alum, how do you insert yourself to helping the team while also staying back? Where do you see your role in developing this team?
WORTHY: Whatever Luke needs, I've been known to come in from time to time over the last several years. I'll help guys with footwork and understanding how to prep for different players you come up against. I think that's what's missing. The kids don't get the drill work that they do in college. They come with a lot of talent, but not with a lot of science and theory. I just try to lend my advice about footwork and how to prepare for different defenses or whatever I see in a given day.

TPG: You mention your relationship with Luke. What's that like?
WORTHY: Luke and I worked in television together before he went into coaching, so that's how I really got to know him. He has the skills, he's young, but I think he's the right man for the job. I think there's been some progress that hasn't showed up in the wins and losses column, but I like what they're committed to.

TPG: I don't want to ask a Ball Family question, but because I am a journalist and we are all just trying to figure out how important it is to cover and you're in Los Angeles with Lonzo every day, how important do you think it is for the media to cover Lonzo Ball's brothers in Lithuania and what not and everything that LaVar Ball says about Luke Walton coaching and everything about that? What role do you think the media should take?
WORTHY: I don't know. You guys cover events in sports. I guess it's your job. It always has been since I can remember. You cover sports-related stories, and so there it is, so he's part of what you cover. Do you think that you shouldn't cover it?

TPG: I don’t know. There's mixed reactions. There's the feeling like you said, 'It's happening, it's in the public interest.' Then you also have the side which is, 'Are things just being said to be said? Is there just a media circus that is created about something that shouldn't even be a thing?'"
WORTHY: My advice would be just stick to the game. When you watch a game, get the facts about the game. You interview the players before and after the game, about the game. All of this soap opera stuff and ridiculous comments about coaches, you don't need to cover, sometimes you are just giving him power. It's basketball, if something happens off the court you have to cover it. Some of the ridiculous quotes is overkill and sometimes you shouldn't give a man power.

Worthy spoke to ThePostGame on behalf of the NBA and All-Star voting. NBA All-Star Game starters have been named, and the reserves will be announced on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT. The All-Star Game will be at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 18.