Lakers blog profile: Showtime era fueled Cap's Goggles' fanaticism for the Lakers
This is the 17th 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: Cap's Goggles
Real name: Felix Medina (no relation to FCM, unless his family is from Zacatecas, Mexico ...)
Occupation: Currently fun-employed
Hometown: East Los Angeles
Story behind your screen name: My earliest memory of the Lakers was the '88 Finals and seeing Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] running down the court. I asked my uncle who he was and what those things covering his eyes were. He told me that that was Cap and those things on his head were his goggles. When I started posting on this blog, I immediately thought of that moment and there you go: Cap's Goggles
How I became a Lakers fan: I could say I've been a Lakers fan from birth but, of course, that wouldn't be true. I guess I really became a Lakers fanatic during those '88 Finals. It was my first real exposure to Showtime basketball and the emotion of the game that I would grow to love more than any other. The sight of my uncle jumping up and down and screaming his butt off at the screen as Kareem sank those free throws in Game 6 to force Game 7 and then chewing his nails off and celebrating like a madman as the Lakers won by three in Game 7 after James Worthy scored 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists to win the Finals MVP was something to behold and will always live in my memory. In terms of first impressions, that series cemented the love a 4-year-old kid from East L.A. would have for the Los Angeles Lakers as he grew up, and it's a love that, through thick and thin, has truly paid dividends.
Favorite Lakers memory of all time and of the 2009-2010 season: "It has to be when [Robert] Horry hit that shot in Game 4 of the 2002 WCF. I was attending UCSB, and I had to deal with the whole Nor Cal vs. So Cal rivalry that was hitting a fever pitch as the series moved along. I had gone home to L.A. for the weekend in order to attend Game 2 at Staples Center (when they showed the game on the big screen, because it was at Arco) and had to witness a whole weekend of the Lakers getting their butts whooped by the Queens. I would be going home that Sunday evening and I figured I would watch Game 4 before heading to Union Station to take the Amtrak back to UCSB. Lo and behold, I could not believe my eyes that first half, as Sacramento put the beat-down on my team. It was as if someone was pulling the hairs out of my head starting with my sideburns and all I could do was sit there and take it. The second half, as we Lakers fans know, was pure magic.
When Horry made that shot, I was in a state of pure delirium. I screamed at the top of my lungs as the whole neighborhood erupted in whistles, cheers, exploding M-80s (or what i thought were M-80s), honking car horns and complete strangers running out and hugging each other screaming "HORRY! HORRY! HORRY!" I ran outside, got in the car and went cruising down Whittier Boulevard, honking the horn and waving my Lakers flag for what seemed like hours. Later that evening, when I made it back to my apartment in Goleta, all I could do was tease my roommate from Nor Cal and enjoy his frustration with a Cheshire cat grin. I lost my voice for two days because of that shot. It still sends shivers down my spine every time to see that reaction from the fans in those YouTube clips.
From 2009-2010 season: Favorite moment of the season was seeing Ron Ron rip the ball out of Baby Huey's [Glen Davis'] hands, tipping it to [Jordan] Farmar who passes it to [Pau] Gasol for the Flush on the break in the Finals Game 1. I have that sequence recorded on my DVR, and it brings a smile to my face every time I watch it. Why, you ask? because I knew then and there that we were going to literally "Beat" the Celtics to the title this year. I was sitting with my friend watching the game, and the moment it happened, I said, "We got this series, homie. They are not taking this from us." Sure, the Lakers made me sweat it out longer than they should have, but my prediction to my friend came through. It may not have been pretty and glamorous, but in the end we beat them at their own game, and I'd rather have the Celtics crying about losing by four than 40 because losing close games stings worse than anything. I hope they are still suffering ... especially Baby Huey, ha ha.
Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: I've got three of them: Magic/HIV, Chicky Baby passing away, and Rick Fox showing up to Chick's funeral dressed in the Lakers Sunday whites and crying as he reminisced about the time he spent with Chicky Baby.
Magic announcing that he had HIV was just a surreal day. I remember it was raining that day, and I was just getting out of school. My aunt would pick me up and always would have the radio on KISS-FM or have some other music station blasting from her car, and that day it was silent as a hearse. I opened the passenger door to the sight of my aunt in tears and KFWB news radio running through traffic reports. I remember asking her what was the matter and her telling me that it was so sad. I didn't understand what she meant by that until the radio started replaying the breaking news of the day and it was Magic saying that he was retiring from the Lakers because of the HIV he had contracted.
It was almost poetic really, because when I heard those words, all I could do was stare ahead in complete silence as the rain pelted the windshield. I remained in silence as my brother and cousins entered the vehicle and each one went through the same emotions. I can honestly say I left basketball for that year, as I was just too hurt by the stories that came out afterward and the thought that one of my favorite players was a mere man instead of the superhero I thought he was. I eventually came back to basketball and the Lakers the next year, but that day will always live in my mind as one of the saddest I've ever lived through.
When Chicky Baby died, I was still coming down from the high of winning the "three-peat". When the news came that Chicky Baby had fallen and was in serious condition, I immediately began to pray for his well-being. Chicky Baby had always been the voice of the Lakers. He was the one person who could bring objectivity to the game and call it like it was, no matter what, unlike the network announcers who clearly had bias against the Lakers. To hear Chicky Baby call games while watching them on a muted TV (in simulcast) was a treat, especially near the end, when he confused Shaq and Kobe for Kareem and Magic and Stu [Lantz] would play along followed by Chicky admitting he was waxing nostalgic. Still, as the news came in that Chicky's condition was getting worse, I understood that we as an organization were about to lose our voice, and the pain I felt from his passing grew only more acute when I saw Marge, James Worthy, Kobe, Shaq, Magic, Kareem, Jerry and Elgin, Rick Fox in his Lakers Sunday whites, and all the other Lakers show up to the memorial service on television. I cried as if I lost a family member that day, and Rick Fox's eulogy and the clip of Chicky's last call calling a summer game with Stu Lantz, basically telling everyone goodbye, brought it full circle. (If anyone can find that clip, I'll be extremely grateful). Truly the most heartbreaking Lakers moments for me
Favorite Lakers player: All-time: Magic (courtesy of my uncle recording old Lakers games on beta, I was able to witness some of the most beautiful basketball ever played) This current roster: Kobe (after everything this man has done on the court, who else could I choose?)
Greatest all-time Laker: It's a split: Jerry West /Chick Hearn. One for having a hand in building two (possibly three) dynasties as well as playing his heart out for the Purple and Gold all those years. The other for being the voice of the Lakers, that made the game so fluid and fun to hear and see (when I was muting those idiots on network TV). Simply irreplaceable ...
Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: The last game at Staples that I attended was Game 1 of the 2009 WCF. Never went to the Forum
Opposing team, player you dislike the most: I will always "dislike" the Celtics, Utah and New York. I just cant stand those teams. As for player(s) that I despise: Paul Pierce, KG, J.R. Smith, K-Mart, Amare, and the one and only Danny Ainge earns my top scorn, as I was able to see (thanks to beta tapes) how much of a whiner he was ... which even translates now as a GM.
Interactions with Lakers players: I met Magic Johnson once in Crenshaw when his theater was still open. He was a very friendly and charming man who took the time to hear me stumble and mumble my way to complimenting him. I felt like such a dwarf compared to him (Im 5'11, he's 6'9).
Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: My uncle's beta collection of '80s Lakers games he recorded since '83.
Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: Going to the 2003 preseason game between the Queens and Lakers when Rick Fox/Shaq and Doug Christie and his wife went at it in tunnels. I was directly above the tunnel where Rick Fox ran to get at Christie on the other end. I don't care that we lost that game; it was just awesome to see!!!
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Upper photo: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's goggles served as the inspiration for Cap's Goggles' screen name. Credit: Carol Francavilla /Associated Press
Middle photo: Cap's Goggles mugshot.
Center photo: Ron Artest's antics in the 2010 NBA Finals entertained Cap's Goggles. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Lower photo: The death of Chick Hearn was a period of mourning for many Laker fans, including Cap's Goggles. Credit: Los Angeles Times