Nearly two weeks after the tragic passing of his friend and former teammate Kobe Bryant, Nick Young seriously considered postponing the pop-up party he threw earlier this month to celebrate his brand Most Hated’s latest drop. 

“I didn’t want to do this party or have this drop around this crucial time where the whole city is devastated and I’m posted up here taking pictures,” says Young

But the party went on because life has to go on and even though Young—and all of Los Angeles—is still hurting over the crushing loss of someone who was way more than just a legendary basketball player. Swaggy P couldn’t contain his easy smile as friends and family descended upon the San Fernando Valley home that served as the pop-up’s host. Young made sure Bryant wasn’t forgotten—there was a giant ice sculpture with the No. 24 carved into it prominently displayed in the house’s entrance. He also says he’d like to pay Kobe a proper tribute via Most Hated with a graphic concert tee during the brand’s next drop.

“I just didn’t want to do it so close and I didn’t want people to be mad like I was trying to take advantage of Kobe,” says Young. “That was a friend of mine.”

While he still has aspirations to latch onto an NBA squad before March 1 so he’s eligible to play in the postseason, we caught up with Swaggy P at his Most Hated house party to talk about the brand’s future, his dream collab, what a Kobe tribute would actually look like, and which ballers are dominating in the tunnel these days. 

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

What’s unique in this drop?
This is more like a capsule essentials drop, like sweat suits for the fall. We’ve been going back and forth about what to do and I always wanted to do like a puffy jacket. But they were telling me it was expensive to make and it takes a while. That was probably one of the hardest things that took the longest for the drop to start.

Where did the inspiration for that come from because puffy jackets aren’t an LA thing?
It’s not. But I like the Balenciaga jacket, the one they had that was cropped. I just wanted to make something with Most Hated on it. I want Most Hated to branch off and pretty much have everything.

Besides the puffy jacket, what else stands out with the drop?
For sure the sweat suits. They’re cropped. We did a boxer tee that’s kind of like a fleece, but in a T-shirt form. It’s an LA thing. The old English is from my days being in the neighborhood where I grew up in West LA, just seeing the graffiti.

I know you’ve been working on this drop for months, and with what happened to Kobe it was too late to incorporate some kind of remembrance. Could we see something down the line that pays homage to your friend?
For sure. I just didn’t want to do it so close and I didn’t want people to be mad like I was trying to take advantage of Kobe. That was a friend of mine. At the same time, I didn’t want to do this party or have this drop around this crucial time where the whole city is devastated and I’m posted up here taking pictures.

Nick Young Most Hated Party 2020 Kobe Sculpture
Image via Ernesto De la paz (@Directedbydelapaz)

Did you seriously consider canceling this?
I didn’t have the urge to do it. It was kind of messed up because we didn’t do our fashion show because last week we were supposed to have models come down and take pictures and have a whole little video set up. But they didn’t get a chance to do none of it because I wasn’t in the mood. For sure I’m going to do more of a throwback style of T-shirt, like one of them concert T-shirts with Kobe on it. I got to put some of the quotes on there like when he called us “Soft like Charmin.” But it is devastating. It still almost doesn’t seem real to me. 

We know you still have basketball aspirations, you have a podcast, you have a family. How much time are you actually devoting to the brand?
That’s my main thing now. We’ve been doing it for three years and the progress is amazing. We have people that want to collab. We have people that want come in and be part of it and spend money. I’m at the point where I have to make a decision do I want to bring people in or keep it medium. Everybody hits me up and we sell out fast.

What are your aspirations for the brand?
I want it to blow up, just turn into Supreme if it could. I just want it to be steady. I don’t want it to be something that’s fast and hot for a moment. I want something that can last for at least three or four or five years. Now with Supreme, it ain’t where it used to be, to me. I just don’t want it to get watered down. I want it to be fresh and kind of like some Essentials cool. You can play basketball in it or you can just swag it out. It’s still LA.

Who have you been talking to about potential collabs and what have those conversations been like?
We’ve been talking to Union and Undefeated. It took a while for us to get Most Hated because somebody had it out of nowhere and they were playing with us. But we finally got everything under control, have the rights where we want it to be. Now we can do whatever and take off with the collabs without any consequences.

Who would be the dream collab?
Most Hated x Yeezy would be amazing. If you got the Yeezy plug tell me.

Can you see a Most Hated store down the line?
This is the year we might do it. We’ll see how it goes. We’re working on getting Most Hated stores. It’ll be right there by Supreme. Imma be outside and draw their attention.

Let’s talk about what we’re seeing in the tunnel these days. Who is doing it regularly that you really respect?
Of course, [Kelly] Oubre is up there. But I like Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander]. That’s my dog. Of course, Jordan Clarkson. That’s my protégé. I like that [Kyle] Kuz[ma] finally found him a look. It fits, the blond.

What have you seen that you really like these days in the NBA that we didn’t see during your days with the Warriors?
I just like that it’s going to that level. When I wore a robe, it was a problem. I was breaking barriers. Now they come in they’re like, “He’s so cool and courageous.” I’m just glad it’s at that point that you can make so much money off the court because of your style. 

Who’s been hitting you up for gear like crazy?
Who just hit me up is PJ [Tucker]. I help Shai out a little bit. JC. KD [Kevin Durant], that’s my guy. He’s a sweat suit guy so I just sent him everything we got.