Lakers blog profile: 5LakerFanz played a game of football with Ron Artest
This is the 18th 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: 5LakerFanz
Real name: Alex Ochoa
Occupation: Deputy registrar, county of Orange
Hometown: Buena Park
Story behind your screen name: I have to represent for my whole family, there are five of us. My wife, our three kids and myself -- we're all proud Laker fans! Believe it or not, our dog's name is Kobe. We also had a cat at one time, named Shaq, and they used to always fight (go figure), but we got rid of Shaq (sorry, buddy). So as you can you can see by our plates, we truly are 5LakerFanz.
How I became a Lakers fan: I became a Lakers fan back in 1987-88 after watching them win it all…I was 11 years old and loved watching Magic Johnson play basketball. I was so fascinated by how smooth he was and all his trickery. I wanted to play just like him! Ha, ha, never happened. I admired how he was a great leader and was so competitive and wanted to win every time. I also have to give it up to James Worthy aka Big Game James, the man was also unstoppable. And everyone knew that when he extended his arm out while holding the ball in one hand, it was over! That famous finger roll of his was sweeeeet. And I can't forget the "cap" with the sky hook. Who was going to block that? No one! Then when you throw in "Showtime" and the late Chick Hearn's famous quotes -- there's no way that I wasn’t going to be a Lakers fan.
Favorite Lakers memory of the 2009-10 season: It would have to be watching Ron Artest on national TV thanking his psychiatrist; it just showed how happy and thankful he was to finally win a ring. And you can't forget the news conference after -- awesome! And I can't forget all the KB24 clutch shots! I've never seen so many in one season; he’s a beast. I'm just glad he's wearing the purple and gold!
Favorite Lakers memory of all time: I have many favorites, but hands down, it has to be when Kobe Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors! He put on a show for the fans, and I would have loved to have been there. Now that is just unheard of -- he's second on the list, behind Wilt Chamberlain. I also can't forget the Kobe alley oop to Shaq against the Trail Blazers to take over Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals. I really thought that game was over after being down 15 points! I never thought we'd make a comeback and win that game, but then again when we had Shaq & Kobe. We're unstoppable!
Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: When Magic Johnson retired because of HIV. I think I cried! It took me a few days to finally realize that "Showtime" was no more. I knew the Lakers were going to be in trouble without the Magic man. We went through our ups and downs, but we finally made it back to the ship with Shaq & Co.
Favorite Lakers player: No. 24 – The Black Mamba!
Greatest all-time Laker: No. 32 and No. 24 – Tie…too hard to choose!
Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: Last time I went to a game at Staples was in 2009-10 against the Bulls; I wanted to see D-Rose play. And the last and only game I saw at the Forum was in 1993 or 1994 against the Seattle SuperSonics. I was in the nosebleed section, but it was all good! I was in the house when Shaq scored his career-high 61 points, the whole place was going crazy!
Opposing team, player you dislike the most: As of today, I can’t stand the Celtics, especially Paul Pierce; he talks too much trash. But back in the day, the Portland Trailblazers or Sacramento Kings were No. 1 and 2 on my hate list. I do have to give a thumbs-down to the whole LeBron James decision -- that was weak!
Interactions with Lakers players: I have to give it up to Ron Artest! He invited me via Twitter to play football at the beach this summer! No one believed me at the time until I e-mailed them a picture of Ron and myself at the beach. I still can't believe it! The dude is so misunderstood… he's the coolest! I have to thank Twitter for this!
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: 5LakerFanz says Ron Artest invited him via Twitter to play football. Credit: Alex Ochoa