Clippers’ rising star Terance Mann has learned quickly about fame

Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann (14) looks to pass the ball against Denver Nuggets forward JaMychal Green (0) during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 103-102. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Clippers guard Terance Mann seeks to pass the ball versus Nuggets forward JaMychal Green throughout a preseason video game. (Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

Something was up, an essential piece of info kept, and Terance Mann thought as much waiting in the corridor of a glamorous Beverly Hills hotel this month.

The hints had actually accumulated. His mom, Daynia La-Force, had actually asked him to the hotel, which was factor by itself to go, however notably little other thinking was offered. A guy leading Mann to a visitor’s space asked the Clippers guard whether he understood what was on the opposite. Prior to the door swung open his mom started taking video on her phone to tape-record her earliest child’s response to his early 25th birthday surprise.

Waiting inside an adjacent space was Allen Iverson, the Hall of Popularity guard.

“Your idol, baby!” his mom screamed.

The previous NBA most important gamer stood to welcome Mann as his expression altered from a worried smile to something approaching wonder. Others in the space chuckled and whooped, understanding the significance. As a kid, Mann simulated Iverson’s braids, headband and arm sleeve. As an adult, Mann has a poster of Iverson in his home.

The warm welcome may have waited for Mann even if he hadn’t made the NBA. Iverson understood La-Force in the 1990s when their playing professions overlapped at Georgetown. A shared good friend assisted set up the surprise. As Iverson informed the put together group, Mann is “family.” However when Iverson started discussing Mann, the basketball gamer, the appreciation reached a various level helped by occasions of the previous summer season.

“This … bad, man,” Iverson stated, nodding his head. “This … is a certified killer.”

Originating from a previous NBA MVP, the words were especially surreal. La-Force remembered Mann “actually blushing.” He later on called the acknowledgment “crazy to me” — and yet it fit the pattern of a surreal summer season that has actually seen his profile increase at breakneck speed since a breakout playoff run that consisted of a career-high 39 points in June to clinch a second-round series triumph versus Utah.

“My life has dramatically changed in the last three months, for sure,” Mann stated.

Mann had actually understood regional popularity while at Florida State, however this summer season he was consistently seen in cities where he as soon as took a trip anonymously. Throughout a check out to Las Vegas to view the Atlanta Dream, for whom his mom is an assistant, Mann was stopped every couple of hundred feet inside one gambling establishment as his mom happily viewed. His home town of Lowell, Mass., offered him a secret to the city. Vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mann believed he’d undoubtedly fly under the radar.

“I was out there on the beach, I was going in town, and people were like, ‘Oh, don’t you play?’” Mann stated. “I’m like, how the hell?”

He’s no longer called the wing taken 48th general in the 2019 draft, who played more in the G League than the NBA as a novice, who was informed on the eve of the playoffs in May that he ran out the Clippers’ rotation.

“We’d never been somewhere before the playoffs where guys are asking for pictures and autographs,” stated Julius V, a Los Angeles-based fitness instructor who has actually worked with Mann each of the last 2 offseasons. And now?

“People ask to take pictures … ” V chuckled.

They acknowledged Mann due to the fact that of how frequently he appeared to be in the ideal location at the correct time throughout a 2nd season in which he continued to make the nuanced, clever plays that assisted him get prepared while likewise enhancing his three-point precision by 7 portion indicate almost 42%. Soaking over Utah’s Rudy Gobert, the three-time protective gamer of the year, in the playoffs two times didn’t injured.

Clippers guard Terance Mann dunks over Jazz center Rudy Gobert during a playoff game June 16, 2021.

Clippers guard Terance Mann soaks over Jazz center Rudy Gobert throughout a championship game June 16, 2021. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

Mann brought a valiancy from his profession’s start. However he has actually progressively permitted that self-confidence to reveal through in various methods. When asked last week about being named by NBA general managers as a breakout candidate, a chip appeared on his shoulder.

“You said, GMs, the ones that didn’t draft me? Until the 48th pick?” he said. “I don’t care about that.”

Amid such change, what stands out to those around Mann is what has actually not.

Though Mann understood this summer that he’d likely earned a larger, more consistent role off the bench entering his third season, V stated the prospect of more security didn’t alter Mann’s drive to improve during their workouts. He recalled Mann landing at the airport at night and asking to meet at a gym before it closed.

“We always talk about this: Don’t do anything different than from what got you here,” V stated. “With him we talk about you need to approach this like it’s your freshman year at Florida State and there are all seniors on this team.”

Mann isn’t sure he loves everything that comes with broader fame. He’s had to be more aware of who is around him as he travels. He’s also on every opponent’s scouting report now. With greater outside expectations will come greater scrutiny.

Clippers guard Terance Mann joins fans in celebrating a series-clinching victory over the Jazz.

Clippers guard Terance Mann joins fans in celebrating a series-clinching victory over the Jazz on June 18 after scoring 39 points. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

“We only see 10% of Terance Mann right now,” teammate Nicolas Batum said. “He’s going to be great. You know that.”

Iverson won devotees like Mann during his NBA prime because, even as an undersized guard, he could take games over through sheer force of will. Clippers star Paul George can summon the same ability. When Mann talks of the Clippers’ potential, though, he envisions lineups where he becomes just one cog in a five-man blend of attacking, switching basketball.

“You’re going to see one guy have 20 one night, next guy have 20 the next night, I think it’s going to be different guys all the time,” he said. “That’s what I see, and I like that because it keeps other teams on their toes. It’s hard to prepare for a team like that where you don’t know who’s going to be that guy all the time. Obviously we have PG, we know what he’s capable of. We know what [Reggie Jackson] is capable of. But there’s a lot of surrounding pieces who can get the job done, too.”

Exposure has come with perks. In August he met with New Balance, Li-Ning and others to discuss shoe deals. He eventually signed with Anta and is hopeful the endorsement will lead to a tour of China next summer.

To help “get my name out there,” Mann stated. “Spread the word.”

As he now understands, word can take a trip quickly.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer fist bumps guard Terance Mann after a win.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer fist bumps protect Terance Mann after a 135-116 win over the Washington Wizards at Staples Center in February. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Times.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.