Laker Girls tryouts survive Carmageddon
Fearful of the havoc Carmageddon would have on the 405 Freeway and the traffic on adjacent sidestreets, one Laker Girls prospect set her alarm for 4:30 a.m. to ensure she'd have enough time for breakfast, curling her hair, applying makeup and more importantly, arriving at the tryouts at the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo on time at 9 a.m. Another nervous candidate set two alarm clocks at 6:45 a.m., while another set three, including a wake-up call from her mom.
Clearly, pleas from city officials weren't going to dampen the tryouts. Laker Girls director Lisa Estrada estimated that at least 400 attended tryouts, a dip from the 500 that usually attend each year. Still, with ongoing concerns with how much traffic congestion would take place during Carmageddon and the lingering stigma of the Lakers' early playoff exit, Estrada initially thought only about 300 would show up.
And then there's the whole possibility that there may be an NBA lockout-shortened season, or no season at all. Though much of the focus has centered on what a new collective bargaining agreement would mean to the front office and players union, many prospects joked that a new deal will happen simply because fans will want to see the Laker Girls dance.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo:Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, center, and Councilman Tom LaBonge, to his right, join construction officials and members of the media as they wave at the first motorists to travel on the southbound 405 Freeway under the Mulholland Drive bridge after half of it was demolished. The feared "Carmageddon" scenario was avoided in Los Angeles and a 10-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway was reopened ahead of schedule. Credit: Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles Times/July 16, 2011)