Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell inadvertently went viral following his team’s victory over the Grizzlies when he tried to promote an unauthorized sports drink from the podium at a press conference and an NBA employee told him he couldn’t, resulting in him telling her that she would have to take it from him.
The woman accepted his terms and yanked the drink from a visibly annoyed Russell.
“That drink. Put it down,” the NBA employee told a notably confused Russell, who then asked, “Why?”
“It’s not one of our partners,” she informed him. “But it’s my partner,” Russell shot back.
“You’re gonna have to fine me. Coco5,” Russell told her while plugging the drink.
The woman then approached and stood over the guard as he shook his head.
“You’re gonna have to take it,” the player told the woman and she obliged him by snatching the drink from the podium as members of the press laughed.
Russell, 27, then took questions despite obviously being thrown off-balance by the NBA employee. As the press conference concluded, he said “Coco5” several more times in defiance of the NBA, according to Sports Illustrated.
As he left, the NBA player smiled and got his drink back, prompting more laughter from the press. He proudly held it high as he was ushered offstage.
The drink’s Twitter account loved the stunt, “…new flavor loading: ‘Fines Paid'”
…new flavor loading: “Fines Paid”
— Coco5 (@drinkCOCO5) April 23, 2023
The promotion by Russell turned out to be one of the best in the company’s history thanks to the NBA trying to cancel it. The video of the NBA player promoting the drink had been viewed more than 580,000 times as of Sunday night, according to the New York Post.
D’Lo should thank her, this viral video will help promote Coco5 more than if she let him keep it for the interview lol
— ☘️ (@CelticsRiley) April 23, 2023
Russell is a partner in the sports drink company along with the Suns shooting guard Devin Booker, the Knicks point guard Derrick Rose, former basketball star Charles Barkley and others. Coco5 is owned by Loop Capital Markets founder James Reynolds.
The NBA has not decided whether the player will be fined yet for the promotion of a non-NBA partner.
The Los Angeles Lakers took home a major win in Game 3 against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday evening. They are up 2-1 in their best-of-seven quarterfinals series.
“Playing one of his best games of the series, D’Angelo Russell played a significant role in Los Angeles’ Game 3 win over Memphis. Logging 31 minutes on the night, the former All-Star posted an impressive stat line of 17 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal. On top of this, he would also finish the outing with the game’s highest plus-minus rating of +13,” ClutchPoints reported.
“Despite Grizzlies guard Ja Morant’s illustrious 45-point, 13-assist, and 9-rebound performance, the Lakers as a collective managed to pull out the Game 3 win by way of a top-flight defensive effort,” the outlet continued. “Memphis only managed to convert on a lowly 37.6% of their shot attempts from the field and 33.3% of their attempts from deep while coughing up a whopping 18 turnovers.”
The Grizzlies will now head into Monday’s Game 4 matchup at a significant disadvantage. They will have to win while on the road in Los Angeles to take back home-court advantage.
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