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Category: Lakers blog profile

Laker blog profile: Rick Friedman's life as a Laker fan

Rick friedman headshot

This is the 28th post in a series that helps you get to know members of the L.A. Times Lakers blog community. But this one is unique. Longtime Lakers blog member Rick Friedman recently passed away in his fight against cancer. Below is a profile submitted by his cousin Benjamin on Rick's life. Feel free to send submissions to [email protected]

For all the Rick Friedman fans on the Lakers blog:

I'm sharing this writing with you because your response to Rick's
passing and mutual impact on each others' lives is something real.  I
feel you deserve the opportunity to get to know Rick better.  You're
worthy.  4+1 of you were at Rick's memorial and 3 expressed that you
wish you could have come, but were unable (including Mark Medina who unfortunately had car trouble). That speaks volumes to me and my family liked it too.

My sister, not much of a sports fan, upon seeing the Rick Friedman's best quotes blog entry, the many, many, many Rick Friedman quoted post replies and seeing what Lakers fans had to say about Rick literally cried.  I was absolutely blown away, both with intense emotion and
deep appreciation.  I don't think I can say thank you enough to Mark Medina.  A guy that knew Rick found the link and posted it to his site since he couldn't find an obit.  Rick's ex-wife found the blog entry on her own on Wednesday before the memorial and thought it was neat. And I sent links to my best friend, my dad and Rick's son Adam because I knew that they would appreciate it.  For us, it was deeply moving that such a thing exists.  And I know that Rick's family appreciated having copies of the blog entry for posterity, including the two I gave and however many Faith gave the family at Rick's memorial.

I got closer to Rick through our shared Lakers fandom when I called or e-mailed him because I was pretty sure the Rick Friedman that appeared on the blog was my cousin.  My Lakers fandom was something my father passed down to me growing up watching the Showtime Lakers, being horrified at age 6 that the '76s swept us in the Finals, loving Pat Riley guaranteeing a repeat the next year in '87 (What huevos!!!). It was something that Rick, my dad and I all shared.

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Laker blog profile: 63Footer once played basketball with Magic Johnson

63Ffooter - Jerry Mask-smallThis 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 [email protected]

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

Gender: Male

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.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Lakers blog profile: phred phredington explains why being a Lakers fan is 'all about the love'

Possibly phred, at some undisclosed time or location

This is the 26th 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 [email protected]

phred’s Profile: IT IS ALL ABOUT THE LOVE and
(phred Has To Say It Is A Good Life, Whenever He Is Sad or Cryin’ the Lakers Hoist the O’Brien.” And
phred Goes From Alex English to World Peace and Understanding In Less Than Five Easy Steps.

Step One; A Brief Autobiographical Sketch Slightly Segmented to Fit the Question Format.
Why I like the Lakers and My First Favorite Basketball Player: A Gilded Reminiscence.

My first favorite basketball player was Alex English. To explain, let me start by saying that I grew up in South Dakota and my family didn’t have a television. This was in the early '80s when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. My mom worked the 2-12 shift on weekends so she could stay home with me and my brother and sister during the week when my dad was working, so on Saturday and Sunday nights, my dad took care of us. My brother and sister were older and went to bed on their own, but I was young and didn’t like to sleep alone, so I would lie on my dad’s bed and listen to the radio with him until I fell asleep, then he would pick me up and carry me to bed. My dad liked sports, so that was what he listened to most of the time.  

In South Dakota, most of the games on the radio were the Denver Nuggets, as this was ostensibly the "local" team. So for most of the basketball season, I liked Alex English. But eventually (this must have been the playoffs, probably like '84-'86 or so), the Nuggets went away and I got to listen to Chick Hearn call Lakers games.  Meanwhile, at school I was starting to see posters and hear about this guy Magic Johnson, and eventually I got to watch a few games on TV. It was him and Larry Bird, and Bird was ugly, scary and mean-looking, while Magic was smiling and good-looking and nice to everybody. Sure, the Lakers also had this ugly old guy with goggles, but Magic passed him the ball and he scored a lot of points, so it was all good.

I was pretty young at the time; there was a lot I didn’t know about basketball. I think mostly it was that I started liking basketball because Magic did it really well, not the other way around.  And of course listening to Chick Hearn call a game every week while you fall asleep has to be some kind of programming. The Lakers took a firm grip on my soul.

Eventually I got older and starting going to sleep in my own bed on weekends, and basketball started being something that you talked about with other kids and an excuse to buy cool shoes, and everybody starting talking about this Michael Jordan guy, but by that point there was some personal pride invested in loyalty to Magic, and the Lakers were always the best team anyway. I didn’t have to worry about basketball; it was a nice hobby what with the GI Joe and the Nintendo and the Dallas Cowboys and the skateboarding and the dirty jokes and whatever it was you did in elementary school.

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Lakers blog profile: justanothermambafan regrets not attending Kobe Bryant's 81-point performance five years ago against Toronto


This is the 25th 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 [email protected]

Screen name: justanothermambafan

Story behind your screen name: I lurked on the blog for a VERY long time before I ever started posting. Of course, most everyone on here seemed to be fans of Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba, as am I. But I also saw that everyone absolutely loved Mamba24. As a matter of fact, his energy, enthusiasm, poems, roll calls, etc was one of the main reasons I stopped lurking and started posting myself. The blog was more than just a place to get a Lakers fix. It was also a community thanks, in part, to the efforts of Mamba24. So ‘justanothermambafan’ partly represented my being a fan of his for what he does for the blog, but mainly because I’m a huge fan of the Black Mamba and what he does for the Lakers.

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Laker blog profile: Wendy glad to be a newcomer with the L.A. Times Lakers blog


Screen name: Wendy

Full name: Wendy Maradiaga

Occupation: Office manager

Age: 36

Gender: Female

Home: Honduras

Story behind your screen name: Simple, my first name!

How I became a Lakers fan: I was a big Bulls fan and after learning Phil Jackson was the new Lakers head coach, I immediately became a Lakers fan, but not only that -- I love Kobe's game, his determination, his focus. I think he is a great player.

Favorite Laker memory: Would have to be Game 7 and Artest being the difference, proving Mitch Kupchack’s only move for the year paid off brilliantly.

Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: Haven't had one yet; hopefully there is not one in the near future.

Favorite Lakers player: Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol

Greatest all-time Laker: Kobe Bean Bryant

Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: Never been to a game before. I live outside the U.S.

Opposing team, player you dislike the most: I love basketball and don't hate any other team or players. I actually like the Boston Celtics but the Lakers is the best team in the NBA.

Interactions with Lakers players: I tweet Shannon Brown, Matt Barnes, Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom hoping one of them will one day reply to me. That is the closest interaction I can ever get.

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: Two Lakers Adidas T-shirts, yellow and purple, and a Lakers cap.

Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: I have never even seen a game live, but I love the game and seeing them play so this year I decided to register the NBA League Pass so I can see all of their games and so far I have not missed a game. My heart hurts every time they play and lose. All my family and friends hide from me now because all I do is talk about the Lakers. I am hoping to fly to New Orleans in February to watch them play Feb. 5 against the New Orleans Hornets. I really hope I can make it; this would be a dream come true for me. I really love watching them play, and I would die to be able to see Kobe.

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant smiles near the end of the Lakers' 103-88 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday. Credit: Chris Graythen / Getty Images

Lakers blog profile: Living with a Celtics fans exposed Jefe101 to the Lakers

LAT Blog Profile pic

This is the 24th 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 [email protected]

Screen name: Jefe101

Real name: Greg Choa

Occupation: Television Producer

Age: 47

Gender: Male

Hometown: West L.A.

Story behind your screen name: My very first fantasy basketball team name was “The Jefes” (circa ’93) and it just stuck as my alter-ego cyber handle ever since.

How I became a Lakers fan: Born and raised in NYC, didn’t really start watching much basketball until I found myself living in Cambridge, MA coming out of college and rooming and living with a crazy Celtics fan during the ’85-’86 season – I got one look at Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers and I was instantly hooked. I eventually found myself living and working in L.A. early in my film/TV career in ’87, ’88 and some of ’89 where my love for the Lakers was truly forged – have been following the team religiously ever since. I eventually moved to L.A., with family in tow, for good in 2005. It should be further noted that listening the Chick Hearn do the Lakers broadcasts when I was living here in the late 80s went a LONG ways towards cementing my Lakers fandom.

Favorite Lakers memory of all time and of the 2009-2010 season: All-Time: Two-way tie between 1) Game 7 of the 1988 NBA Finals when the Lakers beat the Pistons for their first B2B championship at the old Forum in Inglewood – maybe the best, most competitive finals series I had ever seen...God, I loved that team and that era...and 2) Fish’s Game 4 3pt heroics in Orlando in the 2010 Finals to decidedly turn the tide of that series in favor of the Lakers...that little smile on his face after he hit the one in OT with 30 seconds left with the game tied to put the Lakers up by three...priceless!

’09-’10: Three-way tie between 1) Gasol’s put-back game winner to knock out the Thunder in Game 6 of the first round series in Oklahoma City, 2) Kobe’s 4th quarter daggers to knock out the Suns in Game 6 of the WCF in Phoenix, and 3) Fisher’s game-tying 3 pointer at the 6:14 mark of the 4th quarter of Game 7 of the Finals against the Celtics – the shot that propelled the Lakers to their comeback win for Championship #16. When Fish made that shot, I just knew there was no way the Lakers were going to lose that game.

Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: Like many, the Game 6 destruction in Boston at the hands of Paul Pierce and the Celtics in the 2008 Finals was the most heartbreaking game-related experience – I was in the “badlands” for about a full eight weeks after that. I really thought that Lakers team, with Pau now in the mix, was destined to win it all that season. I know now that that painful loss went a long way towards making the Lakers the team they are today. Chick Hearn’s passing in 2002 was the most heartbreaking non-game related blow – Chick, in many respects, came to be the heart and soul of this team and franchise for me insofar as my cerebral understanding of the Laker experience was concerned. When he died, I truly felt that a piece of me died with him.

Favorite Lakers player: Magic Johnson got me hooked, and Kobe Bryant sustained me. Kobe and Pau are currently my favorite Laker players.

Greatest all-time Laker: Magic then, Kobe now.

Opposing team, player you dislike the most: The Celtics and all things green. Paul Pierce and the “wheelchair” incident will always cause me to gag. More recently, however, Lebron and his now infamous “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach...” episode have trumped the hatred I have for the Celtics. I’ve never disliked a team more than I do this Heat team at the moment – I hate the Celtics, but I loathe the Heat.

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: Not much for memorabilia as a whole, but I do love my “locker room” Championship T-Shirts from 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, and counting...

Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: Crossing paths with Flea (for the first time) on a layover in some airport somewhere in the U.S. a couple of years ago and bonding over our mutual love of the Lakers – nothing like a common love to bring disparate people together!

You know you’re a Lakers homer when...: Much to your wife’s dismay, you keep track of family milestones and generally mark time as a function of when they occurred within the context of the Lakers’ timeline.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Lakers blog profile: RamneetKB24 views Kobe Bryant as a role model

LA Times Profile PicThis is the 23rd 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 [email protected]

Screen name: RamneetKB24

Real name: Ramneet Singh

Occupation: High school student, writer for

Age: 16

Gender: Male

Hometown: North Haven, Conn.

Story behind your screen name: I grew up watching Kobe Bryant emerge as one of the greatest players in the NBA. He dazzled the crowd with his spectacular dunks and buzzer-beating shots. Kobe has given me a lot of great memories, and he has been in the league for as long as I can remember. He has been a part of my life, and I idolize the "Black Mamba." I have been attached to Kobe Bryant from the minute I starting watching the NBA, so it's only fitting for me to put his name next to mine.

How I became a Lakers fan: Growing up in New England is tough for any sports fan, especially if your favorite team is the Los Angeles Lakers. I have both Celtics and Knicks fans breathing down my neck, and it is odd that I decided to follow a team in Los Angeles. I first started watching the Lakers when I was about 6 years old, around the same time the Lakers formed a new dynasty. The team revamped their roster, and their two main stars were Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. One would guess that a little 6-year-old would fall in love with a 7-foot, 300-pound giant, but I was not one of those kids. Instead, I was amused by the skills and athleticism of the skinny young man from Philly. Kobe Bryant had something in his game that attracted me, something that made me throw out my Pokemon cards and buy a Lakers No. 8 jersey. From that point on, I knew what was important in life: basketball. I was glued to the television right after I came from school; however, my happiness ended when I fell asleep on the sofa around 8 o8clock.

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Lakers blog profile: Faith's nickname originates from her optimism about the Lakers


This is the 22nd 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 [email protected]

Screen name:

Real name: Jem Joven

Occupation: Nurse by day, rally capper by night.

Age: 26

Gender: Female

Hometown: Somewhere in Orange County

Story behind your screen name: Not sure if most people know this (some do) but Faith isn't actually my real name. I know, shocker. But actually it's borne out of my endless "faith" in the Lakers and what they can do. Just think about it -- 16 championships, more playoffs and finals than most teams can imagine, and time and again a tradition of winning that transcends economies, wars, famine, injuries. OK, maybe not famine, but certainly through many years of trials and tribulations they are often more on top than the bottom. That is why I have faith. I believe in the organization, I believe in tradition, I believe in the Lakers. Through thick and thin.

How I became a Lakers fan: Living in Southern California, it's not hard to root for the Lakers. I remember being in middle school with my Lakers jacket being asked, "Are you a Lakers fan?" And I would answer, "Not really." Oh, memories.

In a lot of ways I miss those times when my life didn't revolve around the season, when the ups and downs didn't affect my emotional well-being. But being a Lakers fan has its rewards, and as we're coming off the second consecutive back-to-back in my fanaticism (short answer, 1996), life as a Lakers fan is and can be sweet.

I still remember the euphoria of Robert Horry's game-winning shot; Derek Fisher's "one great shot deserves another"; and, of course, Kobe Bryant's 81-point night. But I also remember the bad times, getting eliminated by the Jazz in 1997, getting our hearts broken after such a heroic effort in 2007. (Note to self: The number 7 does not bode well for the Lakers). And the hopes and dreams of 2004.

Favorite Lakers memory of all time and of the 2009-10 season: Of all time? Robert Horry's game winner against Phoenix in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. Can't go wrong with Big Shot Rob. To be perfectly honest, I didn't see it. I was an avid fan back then, but one with a weaker stomach than I do now. So much anxiety and so much hanging in the balance I had to turn the TV off. But I do remember the moment. The best Lakers memories live in the moment. Horry's shot was one of them. For a span of what felt like 10 minutes (when really it was mere seconds), all I could hear were the cheers. What's great about living in Southern California is that not everyone is a Lakers fan but there's something about the playoffs that sweeps you in even when you're not. When that shot dropped, screams could be heard all around my neighborhood. And it's a moment I will never forget. And will probably always regret (weak stomach and all).

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Lakers blog profile: Jamie Sweet fondly recalls his first L.A. Times Lakers blog comment

Jamie SweetThis is the 21st 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 [email protected]

Screen name: Jamie Sweet (Demolitions/Linguist, Cunning)

Real name: Benjamin (Jamie, ask my folks) Sweet

Occupation: Media services technician/ technical director of the Garage Theatre/ other duties as assigned

Age: 36

Gender: Male

Hometown: Costa Mesa man born and bred but now residing in Long Beach.

Story behind your screen name: It was during the 2007 season when I first started blogging, I had been reading the threads and opinions but hadn't really gotten into the whole blogging thing. Here's what I consider to be my first post. I looked around for the post where I hoped Smush had a breakout game a year earlier but couldn't find it. I might have been a bit toasted. Anyhow, I had thought about various screen names (Laser, boogie-boogie wolverine, Do you like waffles?) but none of them seemed to fit who I saw myself as, virtually. So I figured I would just be me. Here I am, rock you like a hurricane. No link on that one.

How I became a Lakers fan: I was basically raised a Laker fan. My childhood chums like to joke that whenever they came over to stay the night there were three things on TV at the Sweet household: "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Mystery Science Theater 3000" or the Lakers. They weren't around on the weekdays, so they didn't get to see me watch "The A-Team," "Knight Rider" or "Airwolf." But I digress, we were a Lakers/Angels household for my entire life. I have to admit, my sports teams were like a yin and yang of success until 2002. I have been a staunch Laker fan since my earliest memories, many of which are of the Forum, and will continue to be one until my final reckoning.

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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.

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