Lakers blog profile: KobeMVP888 explains his switch from Knicks fan to Lakers fan
Screen name: KobeMVP888
Hometown: Originally, Harrington Park, N.J.; Currently, Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
Story behind your screen name: To blend with other Lakerholics in a different forum
How I became a Lakers fan: I started in following the NBA in 1967 or 1968. My first game was the 1968 All-Star Game at the old Madison Square Garden (the last year the Knicks played there). My dad got season tickets to the "new" Madison Square Garden and I became a rabid Knicks fan during their glory years when they had a rivalry with the Lakers, playing them in three NBA Finals. While I rooted for the Knicks, I had a healthy respect for the Lakers too. I was at the Willis Reed game! In 1978 I moved to California to go to law school. I was disgusted with the Knicks because of what they let happen to their franchise anyway, so when the Lakers drafted a certain Earvin "Magic" Johnson in 1979, that was it. I knew I was going to live in California and my conversion was complete. So I guess you can call me a 31-year bandwagoner!
Favorite all-time Lakers memory: Considering that I had the honor of attending Game 7 against the Chowds this year, what could be sweeter than that?
2009-2010 memory: Other than Game 7, Kobe's buzzer beater against the Heat, which was at my end of the court. The best part was that I suffered through the whole game with a Heat fan sitting to my left, and it took until 0:00 left on the clock for him to finally shut up! Also, watching the Lakers beat Boston in Boston during the regular season with five guys from another forum who I had never met was a very special treat. Ron Artest messing with Paul Pierce before the opening tip was classic, as was his flop down the stretch in the fourth quarter!
Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: 1) Hands down the buzz kill in the 2008 Finals when the Chowds came back from 24 points down, which I attended. 2) I also attended the Bulls' first championship in 1991 at the Great Western Forum. I didn't have season tickets back then but was invited to the game. The outcome was not unexpected, but was still a bummer.
Favorite Lakers player: Magic, Kobe (tie)
Greatest all-time Laker: I don't like this topic, but to me it's a three-way tie among Magic, Kobe and Jerry West. Kareem played with another team, as did Wilt, and Elgin Baylor never won a championship.
Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: Game 7 and I don't specifically recall my last game at the Forum, but I'm sure it was during the 1998-99 season. I feel very spoiled to have forgotten something like that.
Opposing team, player you dislike the most: Three-way tie: Pierce, KG and Perkins (the pulling guard of the Chowds). Basketball is not supposed to be Mixed Martial Arts but the Lakers have been forced to play that way against these thugs because the East Coast bias requires the refs to swallow their whistles on all the illegal screens that the Chowds set, etc. So if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!
Interactions with Lakers players: None, other than running into AC Green a few times at the games and giving him the thumbs up, which he was gracious enough to return. Stu Lantz also goes out of his way to talk to fans, and I had a brief interlude with him once.
Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: A knockoff T-shirt that was handed out for free outside Staples Center before Game 2, Round 2 of the 2008 playoffs against the Jazz when Kobe was awarded his MVP. It simply says: "Thank God for Kobe." Coincidentally, I wore that T-shirt at the Heat game this year and you can imagine the high-five's I got after the game!
Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: 1) I will never forget the sea of Purple & Gold and the energy in the air outside Staples Center before Game 7 against the Chowds this year. It spanned across Chick Hearn Court to every bar at LA Live! I got there at 3 p.m. and there wasn't one seat available at the many bars at LA Live! Teaches me for getting there so late, huh? 2) Also, I had to be in New York during the 2009 Finals and it seemed like there wasn't one Lakers fan in the entire New York metropolitan area. I went to a Yankees-Mets game at the new Yankee Stadium wearing Lakers regalia and a Yankees hat. Yes, I'm still a Yankees fan. One rather obnoxious New Yorker came up to me and called it "sacrilegious." I called him a hypocrite. After all, how could he NOT respect a true dynasty?
-- Mark Medina
Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at email@example.com