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Lakers blog profile: zio69 is almost certain he saw a young Kobe Bryant in Italy

56839163Screen name: zio69

Real name: Andrea Sibaldi. No mugshot, I don't wanna scare people.

Occupation: IT - system/application programmer

Age: 42

Gender: Male

Hometown: Pistoia, Italy. Kobe Bryant's dad used to play for the local ball team. I think I even spotted Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, a young Kobe and his sister one day ... you know, this is a very small town!

Story behind your screen name: Long story.... It's strictly connected with my family name and my (failed) DJ career.

How I became a Lakers fan: When I was 12 or so, and still hoped to become a basketball player, during a practice session a teammate caught a pass with just one hand, which prompted to coach to yell, "Don't do like the Americans! Catch passes with two hands or you're out!" So after the session I ask my coach where he got the notion that American players did that. He showed me a TV station that broadcast NBA games. I started watching the marvelous "Americans" and fell in love with a young guy who ran up and down the court, always smiling, throwing passes or doing other wonderful stuff ... his jersey was at times yellow, at times purple, and his jersey number was 32.

6a00d8341c506253ef0133f17544e6970b-320wiFavorite Lakers memory of all time and of the 2009-10 season: Game 7, the comeback! Although I had no doubt we would win and I wasn't expecting the Lakers to steamroll the green guys, the way the game unfolded was completely unexpected. And in the end, it was even better than winning by 40 points. We gave them the illusion they could win, but Ron Artest strangled them towards the end. Maybe I should also mention that it was late night (or early morning, if you wish) in my time zone, so I couldn't scream my anguish and then my joy. I rode around for three days with a Lakers' pennant on my car after that. I wanted everyone to know WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!

Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: Learning that Magic Johnson was HIV positive and had to stop playing. I was still a very young man at that time and had not yet experienced many personal tragedies. It was a working day just like any other and when I got home my mom told me. I was disappointed because I didn't expect Magic would cheat on his wife. (I knew about James Worthy's sting, but I still didn't expect Magic to do the same.) And I was also very sad, close to tears, because my hero was going to die. Luckily he proved stronger than HIV and I'm glad he's still around. I love to watch him during half-time shows on TV.

Favorite Lakers player: I can't name just one, I have three favorite players:

a) Derek Fisher: I admire his effort, his dedication and his passion. He's not flashy, but he does all the small things right. And I've come to admire him even more after reading his book. I don't know if the Lakers will retire his number, but I'll never forget about him

b) Ron Artest: Because he's the X-factor, one never knows what he's going to do. Also I like his directness and his tremendous D. And how he came out in Game 7 of the finals!!

c) Lamar Odom: Although he rarely plays at the level he can, I love how he's always smiling. Be honest, how can one dislike the Candy Man?

Greatest all-time Laker: Magic Johnson! One may argue if Michael Jordan was better than Magic, but the Showtime was a much better sight to behold, in my opinion. Magic was always running up and down the court, inspiring plays, making plays and (like Lamar) always smiling! His basketball was a symphony! I remember very fondly his last All-Star game, where he engaged in a mid-court shot contest against the East guys. Too bad he's no longer in politics, he would have been a great president!

Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: First and only time I've been at Staples: Last March for the game against the Timberwolves. It was one of the best days of my life. It's a real shame I was badly jet-lagged that day and how the game unfolded wasn't great either: the guys played for real only the first 10 minutes. Then Drew injured his knee again. Sure, we won, but it wasn't how I imagined. But I loved the atmosphere at Staples, so I guess I'll have to be back. (Note to self: next time pick a game against some real team!)

Opposing team, player you dislike the most: We hate Boston. Period. They've been our arch-enemy for ages. What more can I say? I love when we beat them. By one, by 20, doesn't matter. And it tastes wonderful when we beat them in the Finals.! As for players, of course, Kevin Garnett. He's a great player, no question about that. He almost threw us out of the Finals in 2004 by himself. But since he moved to Boston, well, he no longer looks like a nice guy! He plays dirtier than he used to (maybe also because he's getting older), and in the 2008 finals, in Boston, he was always on the giant screens doing that awful scream..... Sure there have been a lot of guys in green to dislike, but they're all retired now.

Interactions with Lakers players: None, unfortunately. As I said earlier, I think I saw Kobe some 24 or 25 years ago. When I was at Staples Center I tried to yell a couple of things in Italian at Sasha, while he was doing some work with D-Fish and Jordan Farmar, but he didn't hear (there was a Laker girl speaking at the mike).

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: Magic's No. 32 home jersey. About 20 years ago a colleague traveled to L.A. and, as I had begged him to bring back a Lakers jersey, he bought an original No. 32. I guess I've worn it just once. If I have a chance to come back to L.A. next year I guess I'll wear it when going to Staples Center.

Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: Well, I don't know if it's memorable ... but when I went to L.A. last spring I often wore a Lakers T-shirt or cap. And it was wonderful to see people all around the place yelling at me saying "Let's go, Lakers" or asking where I got a particular T-shirt -- it was even better than being home! And it was nice when I went to pick up the tickets at the booth: there were some people from Korea, a guy from Central America. Well, Dr. Buss, you certainly succeeded in making people think of the Lakers when thinking about L.A. But let me tell you one thing: you Los Angelenos are lucky folks: You've got a wonderful city, great climate, good wine, good-looking girls ... and the Lakers! It's not paradise, but it's surely a nice package!

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: Kobe Bryant, sitting on the bench during the Lakers' preseason opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves in London on Oct. 4. Credit: Clive Rose / Getty Images

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant runs the length of the court to join his teammates for a celebration after defeating Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 17. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

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zio69 -

Great to meet you and read your profile...Way to represent over there in Italy...

Would love to see you post more...

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation

#17 Coming Up!!!

zio69 -

I'd like to introduce myself and tell you that it is very nice to read your profile. I'm looking forward to having interactions with you on the blog in the future. :-)

"But let me tell you one thing: you Los Angelenos are lucky folks: You've got a wonderful city, great climate, good wine, good-looking girls ... and the Lakers! It's not paradise, but it's surely a nice package!"


That's allright, mio amico!

Congrats to Laker Tom and MVP888 for their 49ers for their first win beating the Rai-duhs.

I'm no 49ers fan but I don't like the Raid-uhs.

Fire Al Dave-uhs already.


Right now Kobe is 38th in NBA history in most minutes played over a career.

That's old people. Only 37 other players in NBA history have played more minutes than Kobe Bryant hs as of his last game.

If Kobe averages 38 minutes a game this year and misses only 5 games then he'll have 40,292 which will mean only 21 players have played more minutes than Kobe over their career.

He should be as old as the hills. He might have one of those Egyptian rings that when he removes it, he turns to dust.


KB Blitz, outside of the Lakers, you and me got issues when it comes to the RAIDERS!!! :)


I enjoyed your profile. Way to represent the Lakers in Pistoia.

Stay tuned...

Mamba24 - Why is my streak ending???
zio69 - Thank you for sharing your story and I strongly encourage you to participate in the comments/chat. Everyone here is an enjoyable bunch and they don't bite....

Also, a word of note to everyone. The supply I have of Laker blog profiles are dwindling. So I definitely encourage everyone to send theirs. My plan on using them throughout the season will mostly be limited to weekends. But when there's lots going on at practice or a game, I'll put them on the back burner and save them for whenever the Lakers have a day off. For old timers, fill that one out and share us your stories. For newcomers or people who are regulars but don't comment, fill one out but also please please participate in the comment threads. It'll make readers love and appreciate your story as a Lakers fan even more


Wes, I hear you about the minutes that Kobe is logging. But the thing is, he's also one of the best conditioned athletes in all of professional sports - which extends his warranty considerably.

zio69, way to represent in Italy. The laker fan base is certainly as international as it gets.

MM, any idea of what approach the Lakers will take tonight. Will they look to log heavy minutes for the starting lineup, or will we see more bench play? Is Phil going to take it easy with Kobe? Given Phil's comments of not being very deep in the frontcourt, I wonder if he will play Caracter, Ratliff and Naymick more.

Laker J - Phil said after the game that he planned to play Kobe around the same time, anywhere between 22-24 minutes, though he noted his interest in seeing how Kobe's body would respond to the back to back .The only way Phil said he'd limit Kobe is if he approached him and told him he needed it scaled back. Knowing Kobe, I don't see that happening and he said afterwards he feels comfortable logging similar minutes tonight. I doubt Naymick will get run, perhaps Caracter will more tonight. The reason he didn't as much last night is because Odom and Barnes got in foul trouble, which pushed Artest to more four and Ebanks remaining at three, though Phil had hoped he'd play some at two.

Zi069, very nice profile and nice to meet you. I usually recognize most bloggers as they are put in Roll Call, but be that as it may, you seem to Represent Lakers Nation in Italy very well. We share some of the same likes and favorite moments and I'd like to say welcome aboard to LakersBlog and Lakers Nation. Oh yes, I have to say it the Profile was OUT FREAKIN STANDING SIR!!!!

Our household is dealing with the Fox vs. Dish mess. In the meantime all Laker games are being blocked, including NBA Tv (all of a sudden... Dish has no answers). Also, ESPN 710 am streams fine until it's game time. Then no game stream. What's up with that? Very frustrated. Help!
What are the rest of Laker Nation doing to watch the games? Any Online sources. Audio sources. Iphone. We live in the San Luis Obispo area. Thanks for any feedback you may have.

I posted this on the other thread, but I'm psyched to see a little of the Gasol/Jefferson and Kobe/Raja Bell matchups tonight. I thought the Jazz (minus Deron Williams) looked really good yesterday against the Clips.

@Lew - I watched Once Brothers 30/30 piece last night and it was very good like said. Oh yeah...very good song selection per usual. And congrats on RCOTD.

@Mamba - thanks for bringing the energy as always!

@pfunk36 - the Walton countdown was hilarious.

@TomDaniels - excellent summation.

@ms - Kobe's certainly got that "eye of the Tiger" thang going...very fitting for a Philly guy.

@MM - excellent interviews. I was especially impressed with Ebanks maturity.

@ZIO69… Pleasure to meet you and read your outstanding profile. Nice to learn more about another loyal Lakers fan from Italy. Looking forward to seeing you post during the season so don’t be a stranger. Go, Lakers.
@BLITZ… Thanks for the shout out for the Niners win. It’s so funny how much better the outcome is when you don’t turn the ball over. I share your dislike of the Raid-duhs. I was happy to see Alex Smith throw those two touchdowns. Our offensive play selection and overall strategy basically sucks, which is one reason why Singletary has to go. What is ironic is that now we lose even when we win because it prolongs the Singletary era.
@LEWSTERS… Forgot to congratulate you on another Friedman, Lew. You make me want to come to Las Vegas just to share a brew and some Lakers tales with you. Can’t wait to get your Suburban caravan rolling for the regular season. Truthfully, I’m getting a little bored with preseason.
JAMF and all the rest of you regulars who haven’t sent in your profiles, step up to the plate. No hiding from your blog brothers and sisters. Give us a little glimpse into your lives. Otherwise, we’re going to have to get Mamba24 to start a submit your blog profile bandwagon. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Whose blog profiles are we still waiting to see? Shout out.


Great to meet you and nice profile. Keep on posting.

Oh... che bello avere un connazionale tra i profiles :) :) :)

Okay, better get back writing in English so everybody can get me.

It was a great surprise and a joy to read your profile, because it always makes me feel so proud when Italians show up and love to manifest their Lakers love.

I look forward to you interacting here, take part in chats as well, so that I won't be alone wakin up at 4 am to see Sky tv ;)

Great profile, and alos cute nickname.

Benvenuto in Paradiso... e non intendo quello di Venditti ;)

Z. :) (Italian Lakers Fanbase D.O.P. ;))

It's funny to read the musings of someone with such a short history being a fan of this franchise.



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