Lakers blog profile: Wilbur Post grew up idolizing Jerry West
This is the sixth 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Screen name: Wilbur Post, Mister Ed
Real name: (with mug shot optional) Norm Decker
Occupation: Employment Researcher (OK unemployed, but looking…)
Hometown: Born and raised in L.A. but currently living in San Diego.
Story behind your screen name: It’s a pseudonym I’ve used for years. Comes from the old 1960s TV show Mr. Ed.
How I became a Lakers fan: Grew up in Los Angeles. My father took me to some games as a kid and I was hooked. Off the subject, but as a kid with a transistor radio can it get any better than Chick Hearn and Vin Scully?
Favorite Lakers memory of all time – Jerry West’s half-court shot against the Knicks. Always have wondered how the three-point shot would have altered the results back then. I’ll always remember the remarkable comeback against the Portland Trail Blazers. Coming back from 15 points down in the fourth quarter -- didn’t think it was going to happen. (I also remember Shaq doing better at the free-throw line than Kobe that game!) Sneak one more in – Kobe dropping 82 on Toronto. And of the 2009-2010 season: Not a game moment but it has to be Ron Artest’s post game interview.
Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: Not seeing Elgin Baylor get a ring. My early basketball heartbreak memories included losing 1969’s Game 7 at the Forum and 1970’s Game 7 at the Garden. (Needless to say when the Lakers were down by 13 to the Celtics in Game 7 of this year, I wasn’t too confident.)
Favorite (current) Lakers player: Pau Gasol. I like Pau’s demeanor and how he plays the game.
Greatest all-time Laker: This really should be broken down by generations. Because he played when I was a kid, I’ll say Jerry West.
Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: A playoff game against San Antonio in May of 2004. Wow, just made me realize it has been years since my last game. Ever since my son graduated high school and headed off to college, haven’t felt the need to leave the TV and drive up from San Diego. Forum: It was a game against Sacramento in March of 1999. Don’t recall the exact date.
Opposing team, player you dislike the most: Celtics, hands down. Their dominance over the Lakers will always have the Celtics on top of the most-hated list. As far as the player, that is a tougher question. Guess I would say Paul Pierce. That wheel chair stunt three years ago still irks me.
Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: The book “Mr. Clutch: The Jerry West Story" by Bill Libby. Why a book? It was given to me on my 13th birthday before my dad took me to a game at the Forum. It was ‘71 and Jerry West was out with a knee injury. Someone told us to take the book to the business office as sometimes Jerry West stops by and he would sign the book for me. My dad and I head over to the office at halftime and lo and behold Jerry West walks in the door. I still remember shaking his hand and he seemed like a giant to me. (I was barely 5-foot-2 when I was 13.) Never forget the moment. To top it all off, met Chick Hearn and he also signed the book. (As an aside, Chick Hearn was always so approachable. The Lakers were blessed to have him.)
Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: Spent a lot of time back east during the '80s and found myself in hostile territory come playoff time. Almost came to blows with one Celtic fan but cooler heads prevailed. I guess out of mutual respect, we ended up becoming good friends and have stayed in touch over the years.
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Photo: Wilbur Post mostly treasures a Jerry West book he received at age 13 because the Lakers star autographed it for him. Credit: Los Angeles Times