Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson is in only his second season in the league, but the 23-year-old already looks out for his younger teammates as if he were a 10-year veteran.
Just look at the postgame press conference from Friday's Rising Stars Challenge in Toronto.
When a reporter asked Clarkson and Lakers rookie D'Angelo Russell what it felt like to be "unleashed" in a showcase game rather than be restricted, there was the potential for a young player who might be unhappy with his role to call out his coach on a big stage.
But after Clarkson gave his answer, he warned his 19-year-old teammate (at the four-minute, 12-second mark) to be careful with his words.
Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, hasn't been getting the time on the court he probably expected this season. The first-year player is averaging 12.2 points, 3.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 turnovers in 27.1 minutes per game.
While some teams aren't in the position to let their young players work through growing pains, the Lakers are in rebuilding mode and would likely benefit from letting Russell learn on the fly as opposed to having him sit on the bench for nearly half of every game.
If Russell were frustrated with his role, it would be understandable. And Perhaps Clarkson thought the rookie would want to say something about it. Or perhaps he was just making sure his teammate remembered they were on a bigger stage than usual.
Whatever the reason, it was funny to hear a player say something like this near a microphone—even if he didn't mean for everyone to hear him.