In a state of supreme contentment, Josh Hart couldn't stop smiling as he greeted Redskins cornerback Josh Norman in the lobby of the Marina Del Rey Ritz Carlton, shaking hands with his favorite player, chatting about their experiences and posing for photos.
"I'm like a kid in a candy shop right now talking to him," Hart said. "Trying to have my composure. It was dope, it was cool."
Hart, one of the newest members of the Lakers, taken with the 30th-overall draft pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, had a whirlwind 20 minutes with his favorite team on Saturday before the team's victory over the Rams.
The Silver Spring, Md., native and Villanova product also shook hands with linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, met head coach Jay Gruden and held court with Doug Williams. Those encounters whet his appetite for Sunday's festivities, in which he roamed the Coliseum field prior to kickoff and saw his childhood team defeat his new city's team while dressed in Sean Taylor's burgundy jersey.
Hart has been a Redskins fan since he was born, but his passion for the team didn't explode until he left for Villanova, where he encountered plenty of Eagles fans.
"It really just amplified when I got to college and after that I bled burgundy and gold," Hart said. "We never really had money to go to a game, so I was always able to watch it, but once I got to Philly and they had all the Eagles games, everything was "Fly Eagles Fly," and I'm like "Yo!" I just started really loving [the Redskins]. I couldn't just turn the TV on to turn to whatever [station] and the Skins were on, so I ended up going on NFL League pass, a couple of bootleg sites, trying to find the game, that's when I was really starting to amplify."
Hart attended Sidwell Friends School and enjoyed his time living in Silver Spring, a quieter neighbor to Washington, D.C., that he said fit his personality. "I'm not really much of a loud, erratic guy," he said.
In that sense, it has been an adjustment since moving to Los Angeles.
"The vibe is different and all that so it's just weird because there was a couple times where I would be out, be in different areas and wow, it's just a culture shock and it's way different from being in Maryland or even Philly. I can see why people can get caught up in this scene and everything in L.A."
As the season gets going, Hart is intent on finding a Redskins lounge or bar to watch games in L.A. when he can on Sundays before the season gets too hectic. He already has a Kirk Cousins and Taylor jersey, and has a Norman one ordered that's on its way.
"I loved Sean Taylor, I loved Clinton Portis, loved Santana Moss, those were the main guys," Hart said, reflecting on "Area 51" with LaRon Landry and some of the quarterbacks that came and went.
Hart said he might be in town next week for the Raiders game, giving him another chance to see his favorite team in action at FedExField. In the meantime, he's excited about the Lakers' youth movement being drafted with Lonzo Ball and is redy for the season to start soon.
"There's so much hype around us and we're just ready to go play basketball," Hart said. "Very excited for the talent that we have, the character that we have, obviously we're young and there's going to be a learning curve s for a lot of us, but it's very exciting."