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Lakers blog profile: Puddle made Jerry West laugh

Puddle 2

This is the tenth post in a weekly series that helps you get to know members of the L.A. Times Lakers blog community. Feel free to send submissions to mgmedin@gmail.com.

Screen name: puddle

Real name: Phil

Age: 26

Gender: M

Hometown: Woodland Hills

Story behind your screen name: My initials are PDL, which if spoken as a word sounds like “puddle”. I’ve very jealous of my brother, whose initials GSL sound like “Gasol”, or even my dad, whose initials WFL sound like “waffle”. Mmmm, waffles.

How I became a Lakers fan: I became a basketball fan when I started playing in 3rd grade (1993). I became an NBA fan when I watched Dream Team II (yeah, I missed out on the REAL Dream Team), a team that had Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson – two Charlotte Hornets players. I loved those guys so much I even wanted a hi-top fade like ‘Zo had, despite the fact that my hair is blond and wavy. So even though I liked the Lakers, I became a huge Hornets fan. In 1995, however, Charlotte traded Alonzo to Miami and I cried. That day I vowed to never root for the Hornets again (I eventually tore down my Charlotte Hornets wallpaper in my room) and began to root SOLELY for my hometown Lakers. The Hornets, to me, were kind of like the first serious girlfriend you have – you know, the one you loved but who broke your heart but ultimately made you a wiser better man. The Lakers are like the soul-mate.

Favorite Lakers memory of all time and of the 2009-2010 season: Favorite Lakers memory of all time is when Kobe lobbed that alley-oop to Shaq to cap the Lakers Game 7 comeback vs. the Blazers in 2000. I always pace around during Lakers games – especially in the playoffs – and in this game, I was a complete madman. If I remember right, the Lakers were down 16 at the end of the 3rd quarter, when Brian Shaw banked in a 3. For some reason, I just knew they were going to come back. When Kobe connected with Shaq on that alley-oop, I ran around outside screaming and jumping around like a crazy person. I’ve never experienced such an emotional high from any other Laker moment. (Sidenote: Does anyone remember how spectacular Kobe was in that game? How about 25 points, 11 rebs, 7 ast, 4 blk?) My favorite memory of this last season was definitely Ron Artest’s interview after Game 7. His joy bordered on delirium. I could relate.

Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: It may sound weird, but when Kobe was charged with sexual assault, it was not just the shock and disappointment of that incident but the dismay that I couldn't enjoy that the Lakers just signed Malone and Payton. I was so excited about that season just days earlier, and to go from so high to so low felt like a punch to the groin.

Puddle 1

Favorite Lakers player: This is a tough one. Of course I love Kobe. But I end up really liking players who are great, genuine, down-to-earth people who know their roles, do it to the best of their ability, and make great contributions to winning Laker teams. Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher are my favorite Lakers currently. Over the years I’ve loved Brian Shaw, Rick Fox, Robert Horry, Trevor Ariza (I was pretty bummed to see him go), and Ron Harper. Ron Artest is really growing on me, and I think I’ll really love Steve Blake.

Greatest all-time Laker: Magic. No question. I'm just sad I didn't get to see him live until his brief return in ’95-’96, when he, of course, just wasn't the same. But I’ve watched probably 50 or so Laker games from the 80s, and I’m truly amazed by the things he could do. Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: Forum? Lakers vs. Hornets in 1995. Staples Center? Game 2, 2010 Playoffs, First Round vs. OKC. I go to 4 or 5 Laker games per year, but as an LA Kings season ticket holder, I’m at Staples all the time.

Opposing team, player you dislike the most: Boston Celtics. Paul Pierce. Everything about Pierce annoys me, from his flopping and flailing, to his doughy physique, to his perpetually whiny face, to his irritating disrespect for the Lakers, to his ridiculously over-inflated ego.

Interactions with Lakers players: I've met and have autographs from Kobe, Shaq, Horry, Shaw, Fox, Eddie Jones, Fisher, and the rest of the 1996-1997 Lakers. Also met and have autographs from Magic (2x), Kareem (no autograph - he was mean! haha), Jamaal Wilkes, Norm Nixon, Elgin Baylor and, my favorite, Jerry West… When I met Jerry West, I knew who he was but I didn’t know how GREAT he was. I was only 8 or 9, and I was at a USC basketball game with my mom, which he happened to be attending. While we were in line for food, my mom leans over to me and says, “Hey, that’s Jerry West right there! You should go up and ask him for his autograph!... Now be polite!” I was a shy kid, so I sheepishly walked up to him and barely audibly said “Mr. West, will you please sign this ticket for my mom?” He got a kick out of this, laughed, knelt down and asked me what my name was. I told him and he said to me, “Ok Philip, here you go. But this is for you, ok? Don’t let your mama steal it away!” I nodded and he smiled, put his hands on my shoulders and sent me on my way. I walked away staring at the ticket. If I had truly known what I had in my hands, I wouldn’t have done what I did next: I let my mom hold on to it that night. Of course, she lost it and all I have now is the memory that I made Jerry West laugh.

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: It would have been that ticket that Jerry West signed, but now it’s probably the ball I have autographed by the entire 1996-1997 Lakers team. I met each one individually and they each signed the ball. Horry was the nicest of them all. He had a magnetic smile that instantly made him one of my favorites.

Memorable story about being a Lakers fan: Before the 2010 Finals, my friend – a huge Celtics fan – and I had a bet that essentially amounted to an enormous and expensive game of poker. It went like this: $50 goes to the fan of the winning team at the end of the series, however, after each game, the fan of the winning team can raise the bet by as much as he or she wants. The fan of the losing team can either accept the raise (call) or agree to pay out before the end of the series (fold), and be free of the original $50 bet. After Game 1, I raised $50. He called. After Game 2, he raised $50. I called. After Game 3, I raised $100. He very reticently called. After Game 4, he raised $100. I called. After Game 5, he raised $100. At this point, with the Lakers down 3-2, I had a very scary decision to make. I could either pay out the $300 now (I wouldn’t have to pay the $100 raised after Game 5 OR the original $50), or I could take the risk of being out $450 should the Lakers lose at home in Game 6, or even more if I raised again and they lost in Game 7. But I just had faith they’d come through at home, so I called. After Game 6, I raised $100. He called. We both now had $550 riding on the outcome of Game 7. Yikes! I’m not a rich man, and I’m not usually reckless, so if the Lakers lost, I might not have come out of my bedroom for days. Mid-way through the 3rd quarter, I thought my worst nightmare was coming true, as the Lakers fell behind by 13. To make matters worse, I get a text message from him (which I saved and have on my phone to this day), and it read “I hope u already visited the atm cuz ur about to pay me them $$$! Bos pwns LA. HAHAHAHA” I was sick to my stomach. And then it started – the Lakers began to fight back. I could feel the color return to my face. I screamed and jumped and yelled with every play. And you know the rest of the story. Artest hits a monster 3, Gasol makes a nearly impossible shot with Celtics draped all over him, Sasha sinks two free throws, and I’m $550 richer. Sweetest money I ever made.

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina.

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Phil, left, with his wife, Reese. Phil also has two kids named Javier and Felipe. Courtesy: Phil.

 
Comments () | Archives (118)

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hobbitmage: I highly respect your opinions, have been reading them for a long time here on the blog. Don't want this to get out of hand.

I just think that the meat have been overrated, with some people questioning if they will break the Bulls 72-wins, which is absolutely preposterous. But a lot of people, including the shrewd Vegas betting line, agrees that they should be favored. So I understand that this opinion is swimming upstream, against the grain of thought, and that LakerTom, myself and some others are taking opinions that are in the minority.

Mike Miller is an outstanding shooter - and plays a position on the court that the meat already have two players at, because Miller is basically a swingman small forward. So, Riley spent his MLE on a backup? I take it he thought about this, and figures that Miller will be able to start, if he spent his MLE on him. So, therefore, the meat starting lineup will most likely be:

little princess/Wade/Miller/Bosh/Big Z

do we agree?

There are two natural places to exploit, at PG (which will most likely be covered by James who is a good defender, and the Lakers lack the speedy-type guard like Van Exel or Ty Lue to exploit that) or at center with the natural mismatch that Bynum vs Big-Z, Damps or whomever. This series would prove to be Bynum's coming out party in my eyes.

The meat would have had a more solid lineup with a better player at center. Don't remember exactly who else was out there, what other center was available, Jermaine O'Neal? But using your biggest asset besides the 'insecure-3' - the MLE - on Mike Miller was a mistake, in my eyes, LakerTom's too.

I'm not a GM, and Riley has built a title-winner before (thanks to the Lakers trading Shaq, much like Ainge getting gifted KG from Kevin McHale - but I digress) so he must know what he was doing, only time will bear out what LakerTom an myself contend was a mistake in not getting a better center to play alongside Bosh, instead settling for Mike Miller.

Miller's had a history of injury problems, but I won't go there as obviously Bynum has had his share too. Like Chick says, it's better to beat them at full strength.

Regarding the stats you sent of the Raptors/Lakers game:

I see that Bynum shot 8-for-12, with the best +/- of either teams starters, +10. He scored 22 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks.

Bosh was 7-for-18, 22 pts, 7-rebounds, 1-block. His +/- however was the low amongst starters for both teams, -6.

Bargnani scored 21pts on 8-for-17 shooting, with 8 rebounds, 2 blocks.

Gasol scored 17pts on 4-for-11 shooting, with 9 rebounds, 1 block.

Looks like Bynum got the best of this matchup, no? Bargnani was also more effective than Bosh on this particular night too.

I'm not saying that the meat won't be tough, because having 2 of the best 3 players in the NBA - arguably - on the court together will be a tough matchup, despite the overlap in their games. However I'm sure Kobe will have the guys motivated, very motivated, if they were to play.


GO LAKERS!!!!!

G in DC(aka GDUB) - I love the game on all levels, and I think Phil is possibly the most iconoclastic coach ever to be on the sidelines. He's not a cliche, he can't be emulated, he's an original. He brings his x's & o's to the table (although many don't give him enough credit for that), but even more, he brings a methodology of personnel handling that's without peer. And NO ONE does it like him.

I work in a world where egos are even larger than the paychecks (which go waaaay into the millions), and narcissism is a way of life. It's an ongoing battle to get better and better at integrating wildly explosive personalities and guide them to a singular goal.

For that reason, I study how military people do it, how business people do it, how coaches and managers do it, heck - I can use all the help I can get. I will never completely understand how Phil does it, but I've learned a lot from what I've seen and integrated it into my own methods.

I'm absolutely can't wait to see how he handles this season!

Lew,

Try "Iron Monkey." That's Woo Ping at his best. Plus it's got Donny Yen in his best role until Ip Man came along.

Wes

Drunken Master was great, the 36 Chamber of Shaolin and Shaolin Master Killer are two of the best 'non-humor' straight-up kung fu flicks.

Lew, Wes and Cyber CosmiX,

Allow me interrupt with your Chinese movies, I would fully recommend "Mao's Last Dancer." We just watched it tonight with my visitors here at UCI University Edwards Theater. It is not shown at the main theater, you have to look at internet where it is shown in your area. I seldom watched movies but this one is classic and tell me how your reaction in the end. I recommend this one also to Humanomaly and LakerTom.

I like somone else pointed out am concerned as to who has access to the info. I chose to throw tidbits in my comments previously but still debating if I will do redacted version for blog. LOL Posted by: JustaLakerFan | Septembe 23, 2010 at 07:17 PM
*
Same here my brother! That's what's taking me so long. I guess Great Minds think alike! LOL! Peace!
mamba24/larrY

Edwin,

I do want to see that. I've liked Kyle Mclaughlin since his Dune/Twin Peaks days. I hear he's good as the lawyer.

Wes

Lew and G in DC,

I'm watching a very interesting kung fu film right now. This is one I could not figue out the first time I saw it. I's a Woo Ping film but it's shot in really cheesy low budget video. It's called "The Tai Chi Master" but it's not the Jet Li one that you see anytime you type that title into google.

long story short it's a movie put together from a Chinese soap opera made in 1980 with the world's best fight choreographer doing the action. Its really a unique kung fu experience once you get past the video they use. It looks like someone is fiming with a betamax payer, if that's possible.

Wes

Wow.

Here's some great action from "Invincible Armor" with what sounds like German dubbing. Holy smokes this is cool. I can die a happy man now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w4yRZX3bGw&feature=related

Wes

Greatest ending for kung fu film in history...and in German.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmXDvNZu8-4&feature=related

Wes

MM,

You need to take LakerTom's comments and add them to your blurb about why we should post bios. He has eloquently made the best argument ever to anyone on the fence about adding a bio to the fray. To wit:

"To me, the most interesting parts of the profiles aren’t the Lakers stories but getting to know the person behind the blog handles we’ve come to know and love (or hate, LOL), some for many years. I love the pictures and family and personal stuff, like to know what you do for a living, where did you go to school, how old you are, what made you a Lakers fan, do you believe in God and Obama, OK just kidding. Anyway, I love your takes, Troy, so get working on that profile right away. Same for the rest of you. Nobody has to reveal anything they don’t want to. It’s just a way to meet. :-)"

--FEARless

LET'S FEAST ON THE BEAST OF THE EAST!!Roast Pig ANYONE?

@LakerTom, LEWSTRS and CyberComiX: I agree with you all and many others on this blog about our superiority in the front court against the Meat. Also, I agree with many that LeBronze joined the heat because he doesn't like crunch time basketball. He needs someone to hide behind.

Fo' Sho'!

The problem is; he chose wisely. Wade absolutely knows how to get it done in crunch time. Wade absolutely can take over a game in the fourth quarter, then its mano-a-mano with Kobe at that point.

Kobe and Wade have previously split past such match-ups fairly evenly if memory serves me (not a guarentee -- so if I got it wrong, someone is sure to tell me :) ).

Like I said in a previous post, if the Meat do win it all this season, Wade will be the MVP. Not LeBronze.

IF the games are close, and it is going down the stretch, the Lakers will have their hands as full with Wade as the Meat will have theirs with Kobe. It is here, at this nexus in time, that our supporting cast; namely Artest and Barnes, will be the real difference. We can guard Wade. The Meat have no one to guard Kobe.

No one.

"Never underestimate the heart of a Champion!" --Rudy T.

Wade is a Champion.

I know the Lakers still take the title, but Wade does give me pause, and he gets my respect.

--FEARless

PUDDLE - this is awesome. I loved the line: The Lakers are like the soul-mate. So perfect!

We have a lot in common and when I was reading it I was chuckling. I especially like the bet and your emotion around it. I knew in G7 half-way through that the tide was turning. I couldn't sit, I was screaming with every movement of the ball, waving my hands, pumping my fists. Really awesome.

Cheers - PLG!

Puddle- Nice profile, my dude...let me know if you need some links or advice to help you with the Spanish....I am fluent and my wife is from Peru. Excellent read my man!

What an awesome profile...

I enjoyed the style of writing, so fresh and full of imaginative words and flashes into a beautiful life; then you totally conquered me when you detailed your external parenting of the little kids.

Young, blessed with a wonderful family, blasted by Lakers love and full of good values.

It was amazing to meet you more deeply through this profile and as FEARless and LakerTom aptly wrote, I hope everyone here submit a profile because it's really beautiful to get to know more about you all.

Thanx a lot puddle and thanx to you MM for this awesome idea you've had :)

Z. (more on a further post... but you know profile comes first for me ;))

PLG -

Thanks so much! The bet seems to be a popular story around here! I'm glad it turned out the way it did, otherwise it would have been a double punch to the stomach. It makes for a good story today, but then it was just so nerve-wracking.

TNT -

Yeah, for sure! If you wanna send me some links and recommendations that'd be great!

I've been contemplating taking some real Spanish classes for a while now, but my MBA program takes up so much of my time that I just haven't gotten around to it. My French is really good, so I don't think it would take too much time to learn Spanish, so once I finish my MBA I think I'll give it a real shot.

Puddle,

Was interesting reading about you. Funny thing that you wrote about Kareem. I saw him in Kauai at the airport and he was a total a@$$$. I could not believe it. He is (was) my hero. I grew up watching him and rooting for the Lakers. I realize that celebrities do not want to be hounded all the time but if he just said a simple "no thanks - not right now" I would have been fine. But he had to be a total jerk about it and I lost all respect for him. At least you gave him the benefit of the doubt....he was just plain mean about it.

I hope they don't delete my comment to protect his image. He really is not very cool.

 
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