Laker blog profile: 63Footer once played basketball with Magic Johnson
This is the 27th post in a 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: 63Footer
Full name: aka Waldo Zibaldo
Occupation: writer/producer/director (when they let me)
Age: Waaaaaay older than I ever thought I’d be
Home: Los Angeles
Story behind your screen name: The distance of the overtime-sending Game 3 1970 Finals shot by Mr. Jerry West (after he won the previous game with two free throws and hit a 20-footer to tie up game 3 before this shot... the usual Mr. Clutch).
How I became a Lakers fan: I’m from LA, what else could I be? But my first definitive introduction Lakers fan experience was when I was 10 and my buddy and I went to a Kinney’s shoe store where Happy Hairston and (I think) Keith Erickson were signing autographs and giving away stuff. My friend and I got picked to help them call out the raffle numbers, which was the greatest, and then the final drawing was for tickets to a Lakers game. I called my friend’s number, and he called mine! His mom was freakin’ out: “Shhh, don’t say anything or they’ll think it’s rigged!” Even better, it turned out to be ball night at the game, so double win!
Favorite Laker memory: I once put on a charity event, part of which was a celebrity b-ball game with some Lakers and some Clippers and a bunch of actors. At that time I was nowhere near famous (still am nowhere near), but I’d won some awards and I put on the event (with much help from many great people) ... which meant I got to play. On Magic’s team! I scored 8 points, two buckets off Magic assists. Then on a break, I faked the drive against Ron Harper, and passed to Magic –- assist! I gave an assist to Magic Johnson! Highlight of my b-ball life. Two plays later, I tried something similar but pulled up to shoot against an actor who shall remain nameless, and out of nowhere, Ron Harper gave a murderous block and almost took my head off. Heading back down the court he kinda looked back at me like: “Not on my watch.”
Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: You’d think it was ’69, but I barely remember that. No, it was ’89. The injuries. We HAD that, and then.... That’s why I will forever hate injuries for anyone.
Favorite current Lakers player: Right now, it would be Kobe, followed by LO.
Greatest all-time Laker: The Logo, the greatest postseason player to ever put on a jockstrap, but Magic and Kobe come in a close second with my favorite 6th man being a three-way tie between Coop, McAdoo and LO.
Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: I went to a TON of Forum games and actually stood once on The Spot of the 63-Foot shot. Beginning of this season was the last time I went to Staples (I have great friends).
Opposing team, player you dislike the most: I don’t hate much, as I love basketball, but I hate Lebron James’ attitude and wish someone would Scola him with extreme prejudice (“No harm, no foul.”). I also have no love for Kevin McHale or Moses “Fo’ Fo’ Fo’” Malone. And, of course, gotta hate the Celtics (with respect) or how can one call themselves a true Lakers fan?
Interactions with Lakers players: Not lately, but I played pickup games after summer league all during the ‘80’s & '90’s so I’ve played with or against a lot of ‘em over the years. Went to the Gail Goodrich/Elgin Baylor Basketball Camp when I was a kid and met a bunch of then-Lakers (watched Mel Counts blow a slam-dunk demonstration; poor Mel). Used to see Shaq and jabber with him at Smitty’s a lot, Wilt used to hang at our beach with his v-ball team and ran into him off and on (and even partied with him once, though I won’t get into details here). Used to drive by Jerry West’s house, which was right above my junior high, and see him washing his yellow Daytona and used to bump into Kareem for a while in Westwood for some reason. Oh, and used to play poker with Jim Buss (he was a so-so player, but had obviously deep pockets).
Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: Nope, I haven’t a thing but memories, and they’re fading fast ‘cause of the vodka. And scotch. Never at the same time, of course.
Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: Game 7, ’88 Finals, a friend’s season tickets (told you I had great friends) and 10 of us going crazy (four in the good seats, the others running down to us whenever they could). Big Game James was a monster! I couldn’t talk for a week afterwards. I will to this day deny going onto the floor before the game had ended. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.
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