You can’t mention Los Angeles culture without mentioning staples like Snoop Dogg, the Lakers and the late great Kobe Bryant. In fact, the legendary rapper recently broke down what it means to be a Lakers fan on a recent episode of “The Official Winning Time Podcast,” that follows the new HBO series,“Winning Time: The Rise of The Lakers Dynasty.”
“The Lakers is the melting pot to LA,” the West Coast rapper told host Rodney Barnes, who also serves as an executive producer and writer on the series. “If you put a map up of California, and you put up Lakers fans, you’ll probably cover the majority of the map until you get to the Golden State and those types of areas. But when you come to Southern California and you put up gangs, a map of gangs, and then you put when Lakers win championships, regular games or having a great season, those gangs become one gang – the Laker gang.”
As someone who has long been a part of a Lakers gang, well before his rise to fame, Snoop adds that it was once the team added Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant to its roster that he truly felt like he was a part of the team.
“We got Kobe and Shaq and it was like, the team felt young like me. It felt like they were my peers so I would go to games, I would meet them, get their numbers, hang out with them, get tickets to the game, hang out with them after the game,” he continued. “And it became like I actually was a player because whenever they fuck up, I say shit. When they do good, I say shit and nobody had a problem with it cause they were like ‘Hey, we don’t want to make Dogg mad.’ It was like I was in the locker room with them.”
He also recalled the time he gifted the late Laker legend with a decked out car following his retirement and what that moment with Kobe still means to him to this day.
“I had built a Lakers car, and I had built it in his name and I was like, ‘Damn, what can I give him as a gift for retirement? Everyone gonna give him a basketball, or some regular shit [like] a tie, I’m trying to get this nigga some shit that’s gonna be memorable that when he sees it he ain’t gonna understand it, but he’s gonna know what it means,” said the “Gin and Juice” rapper. “So I built a car all the way up, got it right, white interior, yellow, purple, had all the OG Lakers, the Showtime Lakers on the front spray painted, Chick Hearn, Magic Johnson, then I put me, Kobe and Shaq with them.”
The ride from the airport is one that Snoop says he’ll never forget.
“So I pick him up, he fly out here, I pick him up from the airport.put him in the passenger seat,” he recalled. “I got Go Pros and shit all in the car. Me and him riding from LAX to my spot and people riding on the side of us like, ‘is that Snoop and Kobe?’ And you could just see he ain’t never been in a lowrider, cause he’s sitting up like this. I’m like nigga you gotta lean back, nigga. Put some cool on it, nigga, lean out the window, put your elbow on the thing. You know what i’m talking about? But I felt honored to be able to have him come see me that day, because it was just about me and him choppin’ it up after his retirement.”
For him, it was just about telling the late Lakers superstar just how much he meant to him not only as a fan, but as family.
“I ended up blessing him with the gift. But he blessed us with a gift, he touched everybody in this motherfucker that day. Even the people that clean my studio was like, ‘We got a picture with Kobe Bryant, he was so nice.’”