Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

Category: Lakers blog profile

Lakers blog profile: PSYCHEDLAKERGIRL's work helped her get Lakers tickets

47463843This is the ninth 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: PSYCHEDLAKERGIRL

Real name: Shannon

Occupation: Investment banking/structured credit sales -- I work in the securitization sector that creates bonds backed by mortgage loans. It's been a rough four years, but I am working, thankfully.

Age: 46

Gender: Female

Hometown: La Quinta and San Francisco (best of both weather worlds in California)

Story behind your screen name: I am an optimistic and energetic person and REALLY love all things Lakers.

How I became a Lakers fan: I grew up in L.A. (SFV/Woodland Hills). I went to high school from '79-'82. Truth be told, my family was actually more fanatical about the Dodgers. Ron Cey and Steve Garvey lived right near us (we tepeed their houses). I was a competitive swimmer with early-morning workouts, so I never really saw any Lakers games because the broadcast was always on TV too late. But how could you grow up in L.A., love sports and not get drawn into the hype around Magic's smile, energy and the beginnings of Showtime? I know this will come off wrong, but I became a loyal Lakers fan because I am a typical '80s Valley girl who wanted to do everything the "in crowd" did. If they loved the Lakers, so did I. And it helped that the Lakers were all about championships. You could say it was a bit bandwagon-ish, but my Lakers passion is no longer superficial.

When I moved to NYC in '88, it was cemented in the L.A.-vs.-N.Y. sports talk, and I had to keep up with my colleagues on the trading floor and their knowledge about teams, sports, etc. During that time, my Lakers devotion meant watching games even if I was up until 2 a.m. At work, I felt a duty to stand up for my favorites (Lakers, Dodgers, 49ers) as the guys would go on and on about the Knicks, Yankees, etc. And now, I am proud that I can hold my own in a basketball conversation. I truly love the "game," strategy and action. And I really enjoy sharing the game with my family and teaching them about the players, nuances, etc.

Favorite Lakers memory of the 2009-2010 season: Three things: a) Standing, screaming and jumping crazily during the 4th quarter of Game 7. b) calling my family in the desert and hearing all my nieces/nephews who have become PLG's next generation of Lakers fans screaming their excitement and c) Ron Artest's post-game interview -- true classic!

Favorite Lakers memory of all time: When I was living in NYC, I was given tickets to the 2002 Finals. I went with another California friend and die-hard Laker fan as well. Being in enemy territory, celebrating the Lakers 14th banner and last three-peat at Game 4, when the Lakers swept the Nets, it was amazing! We sat near the Lakers family section and gave Mitch Kupchak high fives. I was a little sad for Byron Scott, but it didn't last too long. The Nets crowd that stayed for the trophy ceremony was very rude and booing, but it was so sweet to be there for the win.

26618943Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: Magic Johnson's HIV announcement. I was living in NYC at the time. I remember watching the presser at work on the trading floor, and I couldn't hold back the tears. But it has been so great to see his leadership in backing AIDS education and funding causes. And to watch his business success. Magic is inspirational to so many.

Favorite Lakers player: Derek Fisher. Fisher's jersey is the only one I own. And I pull it out when I feel the Lakers really need a win or change the tide. So far so good; he hasn't failed me yet. I love D-Fish because he represents everything I see and feel about the Lakers organization: class, family, passion, winning mentality, hard work, leadership and respect. Fish never asked for the spotlight; it came to him. And his spotlight moments have been true to his core: .4 (hard work, passion), 2008 WC Finals, 2009 Finals G4, 2010 Finals G7, huddle speeches (leadership, respect), daughter's cancer (family). Even the Luis Scola takedown was awesome. The timing was impeccable; he showed dignity and made a point to his teammates.

Greatest all-time Laker: Tie: Magic Johnson/Jerry West. For the same reasons and qualities I see in D-Fish, I've seen in Magic and Jerry. They epitomize the Lakers organization through and through. I saw Magic play, and there was always a smile on his face, like it was never a "job" he was doing. He LOVES the game. Jerry West, I have only seen film of his games, but he is always classy. There is a reason why he is the NBA logo. And I am glad the logo is a Laker -- it fits perfectly.

Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: Jan 3, 2010, versus. Dallas. It was memorable in that the Lakers killed the Mavs by 35 points, so all was good on that day. I would love to take the nieces and nephews for their first Lakers game ever this season. That will be a memorable day for me.

I don't remember when I went to the Forum, but I know I was lucky enough to go before they moved. I also lived in NYC for 12 years, and thanks to the work I do, I was the very grateful recipient of tickets every year the Lakers played at Madison Square Garden. I saw games from the Riley era, which were always great. But I also saw games from the JVG/Chaney years, which were awful (because the Lakers seemed to lose). Kobe says he loves to play in MSG, but for that stretch when I saw him play, the Knicks would always rise to the nationally televised occasion against the Lake Show and I would always leave in a sad purple mood. Lastly, I have a client who is a 76ers season ticket holder. His seats were underneath the basket (on the actual basketball floor). So, I was able to attend a couple Lakers-versus- 76ers games in Philly. And I would call the family in California and tell them to watch for me on TV. There is no way Allen Iverson is 6 feet tall, more like 5-foot-something. I am a spoiled girl. ...

Opposing team, player you dislike the most: I dislike all things relating to the Greenies, especially Paula (Paul Revere) Pierce. Because I am Irish and green is a good color on me, this is very hard. I have quite the clothing dilemma. So I have a couple rules around this. During the season, no green when Lakers play the Celtics. Come the playoffs, I don't wear any green at all, and that is a challenge. If the Lakers ever play the Greenies on St. Patty's day -- I just don't know what I would do.

Interactions with Lakers players: This past season, I saw DJ Mbenga dropping off a friend at LAX. He was actually able to park his car outside of departures and come into the ticketing area (even DJ got the "Lakers VIP treatment"). I had just missed my flight to NYC, and I was too wrapped up in getting a new flight. Otherwise, I would have screamed out something and taken a picture. Can I just say that that dude is tall. I can't imagine seeing LO, Pau or AB. But I would definitely be star-struck and try to get my picture, autograph, anything.

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: I don't know if I can say its "cherished," but it holds a lighted display spot in my living room. During the summer before the 2003-04 season, I placed a bet in Vegas on the Lakers winning it all. And right before the season started, I spent a lot of money on a basketball signed by all the players. Looking back, those weren't my best Lakers memorabilia investments, but hopefully I will have a chance to get something to offset. UGH. ... Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: Getting my nieces and nephews (ages 12-16) to be knowledgeable about each Lakers player during the season and being with them as they watch and break down each game we see together. Awesome.

-- Mark Medina
Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Upper photo: Derek Fisher Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Lower photo: Magic Johnson. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Lakers blog profile: TNTLakerFan was all about the Lakers after watching the 1991 Finals

53982032This is the eighth 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: TNTLakerFan

Occupation: Case manager

Age: 27

Gender: Male

Hometown: Kansas City, KS.

Story behind your screen name: My initials are TNT, and I am a Lakers a fan.

How I became a Lakers fan: I fell in love with basketball and began playing at an early age. When I was around 7 years old, my mother put a framed picture of Magic Johnson in my bedroom for my birthday. I saw the 1991 Finals against the Bulls on TV a short time after. Game 1 was amazing, and went down to the wire with Sam Perkins hitting a huge shot. Even though they lost the series, from that point on I was all about the Lakers. Then the Lakers had Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, which was during my teen years, and it just kind of got out of hand. I had a Lakers alarm phone, autographs and countless other memorabilia. The fact that I was playing high school and junior college basketball during that time period makes it all the more nostalgic because locker rooms are the place for debates about who is the best, and it was good to have my squad winning.

Favorite Lakers memory of all time: It had to be watching the ups and downs of that glorious and redeeming Game 7 in the 2009-10 season, and then watching Ron Artest's postgame interview on NBATV live. I have to say the Pau Gasol trade as well, that is still just unfathomable to me how Mitch Kupchak pulled that one off. I was at the gym working out when I got a text from a friend that stated we had acquired Pau for Kwame Brown, and I thought he was kidding.

2009-10 season: Watching Ron shut down Carmelo Anthony on national TV. That was really Ron’s coming-out party as far as being a Laker, and was a sign of things to come. There were guys at my job that were telling me all year that the Lakers were going down to Denver, and how Carmelo ate them up the year prior in the playoffs, and my reply was that that was the reason we obtained Artest. This was an ongoing argument with these haters all year long leading up to the playoffs, and the argument always was subject to change. First it was Carmelo, then LeBron James, and finally Paul Pierce in the Finals. This was a game that signified not only a Lakers victory, but also a sign of things to come in the playoffs

Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: When the Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons in 2004. I really thought that we were a team of destiny that year.

Favorite Lakers player: Pau Gasol. Seriously, this guy is STILL underrated. Look at the Lakers record since his acquisition, and top that with three straight 2010 NBA Finals appearances. Take a gander at his line in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA finals; 19 points, 18 rebounds (9 offensive), four assists, and two blocks. Wow. Pundits need to take heed, those are Hakeem Olajuwon-esque. I also like the fact that he has well-rounded interests and seems to not let anything bother him while on the court or with media exposure. He disproved the myth of his alleged “softness” this year by dominating every round of the 2010 playoffs.

Greatest all-time Laker: Kobe Bryant. Kobe is also top five all-time as well. He has to be fiercest competitor of his generation. He truly is a sniper in basketball shorts, has five rings and played in seven NBA Finals. He is reminiscent of Jordan as far as moves (turnaround fall-away jumper), and the fact that he hit game winners with ease, but he truly is unique and original as well. I mean 81 points? In an era of superior athletic talent? That is simply remarkable. It ranks right up there with the most mythical individual performances of all time. He is also complete on both ends of the court. Ten times all-defensive first team and teams call offensive sets away from his side of the court. Probably the one most intelligent players ever as well, he reads defenses as well as any point guard and calls out plays. He has unbelievable basketball knowledge, and should have a future as a general manager one day. His European upbringing and enigmatic personality make him all the more unique. Mix that with the fact that he has the best work ethic in the NBA, and one day he could be considered the greatest, hands-down.

Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: 2009 at the Staples Center; never at the Forum.

Opposing team, player you dislike the most: Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics. What is strange is that, being from Kansas City, I am also a KU basketball fan, and he was a favorite of mine while he attended. But that soon turned to hate when he began in Boston. His fake Willis Reed finals entrance was the last straw. Watching Ron shut him down was wonderful and fulfilling to me as a Laker fan.

Interactions with Lakers players: I once played in a pick-up game with Anthony Peeler at an outdoor court in Kansas City. He is originally from Kansas City. He was on another level, nobody could stop him.

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: An autographed Kobe Bryant basketball that I bought his rookie year for a much lower price than I would today.

Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: 1. I bet someone $20 at a sports bar that the Lakers would beat the Spurs in Game 4 of the 2004 Western Conference Finals. When Tim Duncan hit his shot, I couldn't believe it. When I saw Derek Fisher's ".04 shot" go through the net, I went crazy. The $20 was fine, but seeing the disbelief on the guy’s face was priceless.

2. During the 2000 Western Conference Finals, the Portland Trailblazers held a 15-point lead in the fourth with something like 11 minutes to go. Who would have thought that the Blazers would miss 13 shots in a row? My best friend had come over to watch the game and left with around 10 minutes to go in the game. He had something like a 30-minute drive home, and I called his house right after Kobe threw the famous alley-oop to Shaquille and said, "Turn on the game."

-- Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina.

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: TNTLakersFan became a Lakers fan when he watched the 1991 NBA Finals featuring Magic Johnson and the Lakers against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Lakers blog profile: Laker Tom's love for the Lakers extends from Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West to Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum

Laker Tom

This is the seventh 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: LakerTom

Real name: Tom Wong

Age: 65 years young

Gender: Male

Hometown: Mill Valley, CA

Occupation: Son of a dedicated entrepreneur, I spent the first two-thirds of my adult life creating and building various business enterprises ranging from a nationwide chain of retail leather fashion stores to a software development company specializing in interactive Web portal applications. The last third of my career has been spent as CFO and financial controller in the technology industry.

Education: My education background is as diverse and eclectic as my business background. I have bachelor degrees in accounting from CSULA and molecular biology from UCR. I also completed a year of law school at NYU and a year in a master’s program in comprehensive health planning at UCLA. That’s in addition to classes taken at over a dozen schools, including Berkeley in the '60s.

Mia & alexaFamily: Mrs. LakerTom and I were high school sweethearts who have been married for over 40 years; we have a son who is a computer programmer and die-hard Lakers fan, and one grandson and two granddaughters who are all being raised to worship purple and gold. The biggest lesson I had to learn as a man was understanding that the greatest reward life had to offer was love, not wealth.

Love of the game: Although I grew up playing the three major sports -- baseball, football, and basketball -- by the time I started high school, basketball had become my main passion. As a 5-9 point guard, I was a good high school player with a high BBIQ who could dunk a volleyball, make the right pass, hit the open shot, and hack and harass any player unfortunate enough to be guarded by me. While I was never good enough to play college ball, my love of the game led me to a lifetime of playing in pick-up games and recreation leagues all over Southern California. As I got older, I added coaching and refereeing as ways for me to get my basketball fix. Today, I am living my long-lost dreams of becoming a basketball coach by helping my son coach my grandson in his CYO League.

How I became a Lakers fan: I was born in the Midwest, the only son of a Chinese immigrant and his American bride, and didn’t start playing basketball until I moved to SoCal when I was 12 years old and started listening to the great Chick Hearn simulcast live Lakers games. I became a Lakers fan in 1970 when the Lakers traded for Wilt Chamberlain, my favorite NBA player.

Nick1Favorite Lakers Players: My first favorite Lakers player was obviously Wilt Chamberlain, but there is also a special place in my heart for Jerry West, as he was the player after whom I modeled my game, spending hours learning to stop on a dime and launch my pull-up jumper a la the Logo. Then came Magic Johnson and there’s no way any point guard could not immediately love Magic.

When Jerry West made the move to draft Kobe Bryant, he immediately became and still is to this day my favorite Laker player. I defended him when he shot the airballs in the playoffs, when he was falsely accused of rape in Colorado, and when he was blamed for the Lakers trading Shaq. When he finally hangs up his sneakers for good, Kobe will finally be recognized as the greatest guard ever.

Obviously, it is no secret that Andrew Bynum has become my second-favorite player on the Lakers. The fire I saw in his heart when he stood up against Shaq his rookie year was a transcendent moment as far as I was concerned. In that brief instant, I saw the same greatness that I had seen earlier in other great Lakers and NBA players. If he stays healthy, Drew will be the next great Lakers center.

Favorite Lakers Memories: It’s hard to choose a favorite moment when you have watched all 11 NBA championships the Lakers have won since moving to Los Angeles. Wilt and West finally winning a championship was unforgettable. Magic’s hook shot to beat the Celtics will forever be fixed in my memory, as will Kobe Bryant’s 63-point and 81-point games, feats we may never see repeated again.

Personally, however, the single biggest play that will forever be embedded in the front lobe of my brain was the 2000 West Finals game against the Blazers and the lob pass that Kobe gave Shaq to cinch the comeback. My son and I were watching the game on a muted TV in my daughter-in-law’s hospital room as she was being prepped to give birth to my grandson. Now that was a great day!

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photos: Tom Wong (second from right), known as "Laker Tom" within the L.A. Times Lakers blog community, enjoys time with his family, including his wife, Teresa (right), his son, Kevin (second from left), and his grandson, Nick (left). Wong also has two granddaughters, Mia and Alex, as shown in the second picture. And Wong has passed along his love for basketball to his grandson Nick (third picture), who is playing in a CYO game. Credit: Courtesy of Tom Wong

Lakers blog profile: Wilbur Post grew up idolizing Jerry West

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This is the sixth 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: Wilbur Post, Mister Ed

Real name: (with mug shot optional) Norm Decker

Occupation: Employment Researcher (OK unemployed, but looking…)

Age: 53

Gender: M

Hometown: Born and raised in L.A. but currently living in San Diego.

Story behind your screen name: It’s a pseudonym I’ve used for years. Comes from the old 1960s TV show Mr. Ed.

How I became a Lakers fan: Grew up in Los Angeles. My father took me to some games as a kid and I was hooked. Off the subject, but as a kid with a transistor radio can it get any better than Chick Hearn and Vin Scully?

Favorite Lakers memory of all timeJerry West’s half-court shot against the Knicks. Always have wondered how the three-point shot would have altered the results back then. I’ll always remember the remarkable comeback against the Portland Trail Blazers. Coming back from 15 points down in the fourth quarter -- didn’t think it was going to happen. (I also remember Shaq doing better at the free-throw line than Kobe that game!) Sneak one more in – Kobe dropping 82 on Toronto. And of the 2009-2010 season: Not a game moment but it has to be Ron Artest’s post game interview.

Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: Not seeing Elgin Baylor get a ring. My early basketball heartbreak memories included losing 1969’s Game 7 at the Forum and 1970’s Game 7 at the Garden. (Needless to say when the Lakers were down by 13 to the Celtics in Game 7 of this year, I wasn’t too confident.)

Favorite (current) Lakers player: Pau Gasol. I like Pau’s demeanor and how he plays the game.

Greatest all-time Laker: This really should be broken down by generations. Because he played when I was a kid, I’ll say Jerry West.

Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: A playoff game against San Antonio in May of 2004. Wow, just made me realize it has been years since my last game. Ever since my son graduated high school and headed off to college, haven’t felt the need to leave the TV and drive up from San Diego. Forum: It was a game against Sacramento in March of 1999. Don’t recall the exact date.

Opposing team, player you dislike the most: Celtics, hands down. Their dominance over the Lakers will always have the Celtics on top of the most-hated list. As far as the player, that is a tougher question. Guess I would say Paul Pierce. That wheel chair stunt three years ago still irks me.

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: The book “Mr. Clutch: The Jerry West Story" by Bill Libby. Why a book? It was given to me on my 13th birthday before my dad took me to a game at the Forum. It was ‘71 and Jerry West was out with a knee injury. Someone told us to take the book to the business office as sometimes Jerry West stops by and he would sign the book for me. My dad and I head over to the office at halftime and lo and behold Jerry West walks in the door. I still remember shaking his hand and he seemed like a giant to me. (I was barely 5-foot-2 when I was 13.) Never forget the moment. To top it all off, met Chick Hearn and he also signed the book. (As an aside, Chick Hearn was always so approachable. The Lakers were blessed to have him.)

Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: Spent a lot of time back east during the '80s and found myself in hostile territory come playoff time. Almost came to blows with one Celtic fan but cooler heads prevailed. I guess out of mutual respect, we ended up becoming good friends and have stayed in touch over the years.

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Wilbur Post mostly treasures a Jerry West book he received at age 13 because the Lakers star autographed it for him. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Lakers blog profile: KobeMVP888 explains his switch from Knicks fan to Lakers fan

Kobe mvp

Screen name: KobeMVP888

Occupation: Attorney

Age: 54

Gender: Male

Hometown: Originally, Harrington Park, N.J.; Currently, Trabuco Canyon, Calif.

Story behind your screen name: To blend with other Lakerholics in a different forum

How I became a Lakers fan: I started in following the NBA in 1967 or 1968. My first game was the 1968 All-Star Game at the old Madison Square Garden (the last year the Knicks played there). My dad got season tickets to the "new" Madison Square Garden and I became a rabid Knicks fan during their glory years when they had a rivalry with the Lakers, playing them in three NBA Finals. While I rooted for the Knicks, I had a healthy respect for the Lakers too. I was at the Willis Reed game! In 1978 I moved to California to go to law school. I was disgusted with the Knicks because of what they let happen to their franchise anyway, so when the Lakers drafted a certain Earvin "Magic" Johnson in 1979, that was it. I knew I was going to live in California and my conversion was complete. So I guess you can call me a 31-year bandwagoner!

Favorite all-time Lakers memory: Considering that I had the honor of attending Game 7 against the Chowds this year, what could be sweeter than that?

2009-2010 memory: Other than Game 7, Kobe's buzzer beater against the Heat, which was at my end of the court. The best part was that I suffered through the whole game with a Heat fan sitting to my left, and it took until 0:00 left on the clock for him to finally shut up! Also, watching the Lakers beat Boston in Boston during the regular season with five guys from another forum who I had never met was a very special treat. Ron Artest messing with Paul Pierce before the opening tip was classic, as was his flop down the stretch in the fourth quarter!

Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: 1) Hands down the buzz kill in the 2008 Finals when the Chowds came back from 24 points down, which I attended. 2) I also attended the Bulls' first championship in 1991 at the Great Western Forum. I didn't have season tickets back then but was invited to the game. The outcome was not unexpected, but was still a bummer.

Favorite Lakers player: Magic, Kobe (tie)

Greatest all-time Laker: I don't like this topic, but to me it's a three-way tie among Magic, Kobe and Jerry West. Kareem played with another team, as did Wilt, and Elgin Baylor never won a championship.

Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: Game 7 and I don't specifically recall my last game at the Forum, but I'm sure it was during the 1998-99 season. I feel very spoiled to have forgotten something like that.

Opposing team, player you dislike the most: Three-way tie: Pierce, KG and Perkins (the pulling guard of the Chowds). Basketball is not supposed to be Mixed Martial Arts but the Lakers have been forced to play that way against these thugs because the East Coast bias requires the refs to swallow their whistles on all the illegal screens that the Chowds set, etc. So if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Interactions with Lakers players: None, other than running into AC Green a few times at the games and giving him the thumbs up, which he was gracious enough to return. Stu Lantz also goes out of his way to talk to fans, and I had a brief interlude with him once.

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: A knockoff T-shirt that was handed out for free outside Staples Center before Game 2, Round 2 of the 2008 playoffs against the Jazz when Kobe was awarded his MVP. It simply says: "Thank God for Kobe." Coincidentally, I wore that T-shirt at the Heat game this year and you can imagine the high-five's I got after the game!

Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: 1) I will never forget the sea of Purple & Gold and the energy in the air outside Staples Center before Game 7 against the Chowds this year. It spanned across Chick Hearn Court to every bar at LA Live! I got there at 3 p.m. and there wasn't one seat available at the many bars at LA Live! Teaches me for getting there so late, huh? 2) Also, I had to be in New York during the 2009 Finals and it seemed like there wasn't one Lakers fan in the entire New York metropolitan area. I went to a Yankees-Mets game at the new Yankee Stadium wearing Lakers regalia and a Yankees hat. Yes, I'm still a Yankees fan. One rather obnoxious New Yorker came up to me and called it "sacrilegious." I called him a hypocrite. After all, how could he NOT respect a true dynasty?

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Lakers blog profile: LEWSTRS is an avid Lakers collector

Lakers Day - Lew, Cora, Papa, Cor-Cat

Screen name: LEWSTRS

Real name: Lew Mariano

Occupation: Realtor

Age: 51

Gender: Male

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Story behind your screen name: It's my license plate number. Derived from my company: Lews Allstars

How I became a Lakers fan: I saw Magic in the NCAA championship against Bird, then the Lakers drafted him No. 1, and the rest is history.

Favorite Lakers memory of all time and of the 2009-10 season: Magic’s baby hook shot, which finally broke the Celtics jinx. For the 2009-2010 season 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: Lakers losing Game 6 against the hated Celtics in '08. Not only did we lose, but how we were blown off the court.

Favorite Lakers player: Magic.

Greatest all-time Laker: Kobe "Bean" Bryant.

Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: Game 1 of the Finals vs. Detroit at Staples, and playoff game against Spurs on Mother's Day at the Forum.

Opposing team, player you dislike the most: LeBrick James, Kenyon Martin, KG, Paulina Pierce, Rondo, Ray Allen.

Interactions with Lakers players: My wife and I met Chick Hearn at Staples, he was a lot taller than I thought, and of course he was gracious enough to give us his autograph. We saw Nick the Quick on the 405 Fwy, and he waved back to us. I high fived Magic at a Ralphs Market in West LA. Watched Jerry Buss play poker at the Bellagio. Kobe pointing at our group, giving us props, during a preseason game against the Kings in Vegas..

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: 'I Love LA' sign autographed by Chick Hearn. Shaq bbblehead, and my Laker jersey collections. I have the complete set of Kobe's #8 and #24 except his All Star, Olympic, and Throwback Baby Blues jerseys. I have four Shaq jerseys, a Van Excel jersey and a Gasol jersey.

Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: My wife got a row of seats from her work at a Staples game. I took my two kids, Cathy (11 years old), and Corey (9 years old). We also took Grandpa, a huge Laker fan since the West/Chamberlain days. This was all our first game at Staples Center, and first overall for my kids. It was so precious watching my kids get into the game, cheering and dancing. Their Laker fanhood was baptized at that moment, and I have done my part in making sure the next generation of Laker fans continues to grow.

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lew Mariano (second from right) recently attended a Lakers game at Staples Center with his family. Credit: Lew Mariano

Lakers blog profile: Jon K explains how Derek Fisher's clutch shooting saved his life

Jon K.

This is the third 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: Jon K.

Real name: "I've been told every week for the last 15 years that I look like Fabio or some professional wrestler. I hate that, but I guess that's what happens when you look like Fabio. If you see me on the street and ask me to say, "I can't believe it's not butter," you may get a throat punch."

Occupation: Project manager at a public relations firm; freelance writer; freelance event production and artist development consultant

Age: 33

Gender: Male

Hometown: Born in Newport Beach, raised in Agoura Hills, went to UCLA, now getting ready to move to Studio City.

Story behind your screen name: I used to use my real name until a Kazahkstani billionaire used a Google search to get into a blog I had on my MySpace account. He freaked out on some innocuous little comment I made noting how close his first name was to "Borat" (one letter off), and withdrew a verbal agreement for a $10 million investment in a start-up company I was creating to develop scorpion farms in the Dominican Republic to use their venom to develop nutraceuticals to treat cancer. The calamity resulted in my being thus interned for 2-1/2 additional years in Cleveland, Ohio under the most trying of circumstances which included co-managing a club filled with gangsters, thugs, and the worst kinds of vile vileness. I now do not use my real name online.

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How I became a Lakers fan: I first became aware that I was a Lakers fan by listening to Chick Hearn in the garage as a kid while my father worked on his car during the Magic Era. There wasn't an event that made me a Lakers fan. It was just natural growing up in California, but if it there were to be one precipitant, it would be listening to Chick Hearn. I loved spending time with my father and my grandfather died at an early age, so I developed a kind of "grandfatherly" association with Chick Hearn. His passion, skill, and humor was utterly infectious. That's what hooked me in, but it seems like being a native Los Angelenan that being a Lakers fan is just part of your core identity. You don't become a Lakers fan. Being a Lakers fan is part of one's birthright as a Southern California native.

Favorite Lakers memory of all time and of the 2009-2010 season: 1) All-time: Robert Horry's last-second shot to beat the Kings in the playoffs. I was watching the game in Playa del Rey with a group of friends and when that shot went in, the entire neighborhood exploded in celebration. It was just a wave of energy firing out all the windows of the street and rolling out into the air. It was amazing. 2) 2009-2010: Game Seven Finals. Beating the Celtics felt so darned good. 'Nuff said.

Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: Losing to Detroit in the 2004 Finals. It was just such a rough season emotionally with all the fighting and immaturity. The entire season was emotionally draining, but I thought it would be worth it when we won the Finals. Actually with Derek Fisher's 0.4 shot, I thought victory was predestined ... and then Karl Malone got hurt and we fell apart against the accursed Pistons. This was to be followed by the breakup of the team. It was a miserable time.

Favorite Lakers player: Derek Fisher

Greatest all-time Laker: Kobe Bryant/Jerry West/Magic Johnson/George Mikan. There is no "Greatest" Laker, but there are four who deserve to be in the highest pantheon.

Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: Actually the last time I went to the Staples Center I saw the Clippers and the last time I went to the Forum it was to see the Los Angeles Kings.

Opposing team, player you dislike the most: Team: Celtics. Player: LeBron James.

Interactions with Lakers players: Robert Horry: I met him at a film premier in Beverly Hills. He was a patient gentleman; however, this was during the 2002-2003 season and I remember thanking him for things going so well for the team and his eyes tensed up a bit. He clearly knew that things weren't all that great in the locker room that season. Rick Fox: I met him at party at a mansion in Beverly Hills. I forget the nature of the event but my invite was associated with the Hollywood Foreign Press. He was kind of a jerk and had a petite little blonde girl following him around like a puppy while he was married to Vanessa Williams. Derek Fisher's publicist: So far, so good.

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: Magic Johnson jersey, but I'm not much into memorabilia.

Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: Too many to rattle off, but I'll try...

1) Many involve a lucky barstool in Hudson, Ohio, that ended up having a 92% winning percentage when I sat on that barstool. I would get there hours early sometimes just to make sure I had that barstool for the game, all the while surrounded by LeBroniacs who for years attempted to goad me into fist fights and who for years aggressively insulted and ridiculed me, but when the 2009 Championship happened, approximately 20 of these LeBroniacs came up to me and said, "You were right. Your team was the best. Congratulations," and shook my hand. It was surreal, but it seems Clevelanders man up when they talk smack and then are beaten.

2) During Game Seven of the 2010 Finals I was watching the game in Flagstaff, Ariz., in a bar filled with Suns fans who had mutated for the evening into Septics fans. It was me, another Lakers fan and approximately 35 "Celtics" fans. Once again people hurled insults my way, but as we fell down by 13 points in the second half, I got up on top of the bar and screamed out at the crowd, "WE ARE NOT LOSING THIS ... GAME!!!" And I proceeded to shout down an entire room of Suns/Mutant Celtics fans like a man possessed. As the room grew quiet, I grew louder and the other Laker fan joined in. I was screaming at the top of my lungs when Ron Artest made that late three-pointer to seal the game. I was so utterly swept up in ecstasy with the victory. It was a phenomenal feeling.

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3) Perhaps my sharpest memory is Derek Fisher's 0.4 shot possbily saving my life. I was going through a rough patch in my life during the 2003-2004 season and I ended up watching Game Five against the Spurs at some rando empty bar just south of Seal Beach on PCH. I'm literally alone in this bar and this man walks in, a huge Ukrainian man, who proceeds to sit down next to me and engage me in conversation while I'm trying to watch the game. He basically infers that he's in the Russian mafia and does something involving money laundering, it seemed. (Yes, I also don't know why this person was telling me this, but people have a tendency to share intimate details about their life with me. I don't have an explanation for it.) Perhaps because I'm focused on the game, this giant thug proceeds to begin insulting me and the Lakers screaming obscenities about the Lakers and repeatedly shouting, "The Lakers are going to lose!"

Repeatedly I politely asked the guy to get out of my face and told him I just wanted to watch the game in peace, but he didn't care one bit and just kept riding me. Over time it began to wear on me and I started to lose my temper. Now this guy probably had 75 pounds on me and looked like he could more than handle himself, but I grew increasingly frustrated that this guy was ruining the game for me for no darned good reason. And then Tim Duncan made that shot and I just lost it. I put my head down on the bar, curled my right hand into a tight fist, as this man stood behind me still shouting, "The Lakers are going to lose! The Lakers suck!" and I was just going to unleash all fury on this guy the instant that time expired...and then Derek Fisher made the shot.

Derek Fisher made the shot. And I swirled around in joy and screamed, "... Go Lakers!" And let out a high-pitched war cry and danced around in joy. Surprisingly, this giant Ukrainian thug apologized and then sat down next to me and bought us shots of top-shelf vodka. It was really something. So, yeah, if Derek Fisher had not made that shot, who knows what would have happened. That miracle shot was a miracle in many different ways.

--Mark Medina

[email protected]

Photo: Jon K. has rubbed elbows with Robert Horry and Rick Fox. Credit: Jon K.

Photo: Jon K. credits the late Chick Hearn, the Lakers' legendary play-by-play announcer, for cementing his fanhood. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Associated Press.

Photo: With only 0.4 to get the shot off, Derek Fisher made his famous fling against the Spurs in the 2004 Western Conference semifinals. The shot apparently saved Jon K's life. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Lakers blog profile: ZairaAmaterasu inspired by Kobe Bryant

Zaira_inFlorence_Jan2010

This is the second 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: ZairaAmaterasu

Real name: Zaira Scotti

Occupation: Biologist and Pharmacon researcher

Age: 25

Gender: Female

Hometown: Lodi, Italy

Story behind your screen name: People consider me a goddess (how modest... I know... LOL) and I love Japan to pieces. So one of my former friends with benefits one day a few years ago just started to call me "Amaterasu" (Japanese goddess of Sun) and everybody in my crew simply followed in his footsteps. Being an ego-filled person, and totally vain, I happily accepted the trend.

How I became a Lakers fan: I have always been tall, and naturally since a very early age I got trapped following -- and practicing -- every sport related to height. I loved basketball since I was 3. Great Armani jeans fan. But being part of a traveling-the-world family, I got in contact with NBA pretty soon. Never fell under MJ's charm, and started to look out for a better jersey color. At age 6, I discovered the Purple & Gold jersey in one of my elder cousins' suitcase. He was coming back from an L.A. residency. It was love at first sight. It was a Magic Johnson jersey, and just around those days, Magic had revealed his tragic truth to the world. My cousin could barely hold his tears so I wanted to know the story of this man able to make him (a very strong man in my mind) cry. Don't think a girl of age 6 could be shocked about death and AIDS because I come from a family of doctors, and I started to read books about diseases and death and tragedies by 5. ... So the question wasn't out of the blue to any of my relatives (I have always been this over-curious baby anyway. ...). From his poetic rendition of Magic and the history of the Lakers blossomed my own love, like a wildfire touching golden dried bushes on a sunny hill, I became pretty much a lover to a town as well, because through the Lakers love, I learned also how to love Los Angeles and the whole state of California. By age 10, I was this strange, tall stick girl knowing every single thing about L.A. and the Staples Center even though, hilariously, my first touch-in with the town was due to the football (your "soccer" ) World Cup in 1994. My Lakers love grew year after year, through everything I could grasp onto. One of my most blessed meetings of passion. Ever.

Favorite Lakers memory of all time and of the 2009-2010 season: I tend to change favorite memories depending on my mood. To me it's often about the intensity of a single action, and of a single mattering sport gesture. I tend to believe my favorite Lakers memory of all time has yet to come. And it must. Even though I have to admit the first time I stepped into Staples Center for a game must have a special place in my heart. ... Favorite memory of this past season, beside the parade, sure has to be the moment when I bought the tickets for the parade. I mean ... the tickets for the airplane that would have brought me in L.A. for a due parade. We were about to get trashed by the Celtics, behind them in games, and we were forced to win the remaining two face-offs, and I sure remember that the mood around wasn't the brightest or the most optimistic. And I was sure we would have won, so totally, instead. Never had a doubt (anybody who has been in the chats this season knows how much I was always saying we would have won the ring ...). Never ever feared a thing. So I paid thousands of dollars for airplane tickets, because I knew in the end I would have been witnessing a parade. It was like I could feel the destiny and like I could live into our players' heads and hearts for a moment. There I got assurances, and then I just had to be faithful. No big deal. Really. ;)

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Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: Easy, Kobe's humiliation and that press conference. I still cry watching him in the dust every single day anybody recalls that to me. But I also learned, thanks to him (my total hero and inspiration) how from ashes a true phoenix revives stronger. And better. And more powerful. Experiences are what define a human, because in the way you deal with and through them, you show who you really are. Choices are what make you grow, both good and bad ones. Responsibility is what builds your ethic, when you accept all the consequences of what your actions imply. And your mistakes are a step you gotta take into your own perfectibility, if you have the force and the brain and the heart for riding even the wildest of rides, fearlessly. This did Kobe. This is what I try to do every day too. Sport is a school of life, and he's my best example to follow. Forever.

Favorite Lakers player: Need to ask? I rarely feel bonds and inspirations around like those Kobe inspires in me. Really ... when I say he's my hero I do say it because I find somebody to confront my own approach to life with in the way he manages to practice this sport. I have learned if you want to, there's no impossible you can't make possible. Everything is reachable through work, will, will, will, and an unbound, unescapable, inextinguible inner fire that tells you "get better every day." It's not pride, it's not arrogance, it's not pretentiousness. It's a way to make your life full and fulfill the gift you've been gifted along with. Do Your Best. Every Day More. This is the greatest lesson in life, and Kobe just [does] it so incredibly well. That's why he's my fav player and forever will be.

Greatest all-time Laker: So far, it still Magic. But everyone knows I do believe Kobe can take that crown.

Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: Sigh ... last year Finals game with the Magic. It has passed way too much time. :) At the Forum, well, as soon as we won, and I jumped on that famous plane to celebrate our Duplets, of course.

Opposing team, player you dislike the most: I really don't dislike teams. I mean, of course, Celtics to me are "the Green Enemies" and I feel the rivalry. I don't bend to hate. To me, it would be simply not be elegant. I don't say this because I am kind: I'm so proud of my Lakers faith, and I feel so much our greatness and glory that to "hate" other teams would somehow show me not reckoning how much splendid being a Lakers fan is. To put it simply, I'm so into the Lakers that I don't care about other teams.  As for players, I really don't like air balloons. I don't like overrated PR machines. I don't like traitors. So in a nutshell, I can't stand Princess Jimmy and I deeply disrespect FatShaq. But I don't hate any of them. Again, just because they don't deserve such a huge feeling or sentiment. In the first place ;).

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Interactions with Lakers players: Well, I have got the immense pleasure of meeting Kobe in Italy and England. ... Never really had the courage to try to ask him a thing in L.A. But just because it would feel like stalking, and I generally avoid bothering people I like and admire. I have always faith things will happen in my life that will bring me near to my idols, and so far it has happened so many times, I can only be grateful to a fair destiny. Anyway, my admiration for Kobe would make me say only stupid things in front of him in fan meetings or similar occasions, and I so totally hate to look stupid, I avoid that kind of stuff on principle, and fiercely. Those two chances were organized by friends involved in PR stuff, so both times I just briefly cheered him in Italian and got the memory of his answer and smile back like a treasure (surely he thought: "Another brainless blond doll"). It's enough for me to remember his smile and his calm, deep, awesome voice speaking in Italian back at me. It's like a treasure that I carry inside. But everyone knows I totally admire Kobe's head and intelligence so I would adore to get a chance to hear him speak about anything, knowing I could learn a lot from him. Of course that could never happen (also because, after all, the "stupid-me version of me" couldn't even attempt to verbalize a decent question at his stance ... *sigh* ...).

I met Pau Gasol when he was still a European player and saw from a 2-inch distance Magic. ... And I met Rick Fox.

My dream would be to speak with Kareem at least once ... well ... and Jerry West. And Phil Jackson. And I would love to talk to Derek Fisher. ... I am sure I would also adore to talk to Ron Ron. Oh, darn... I would love to talk to them all.

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: Don't laugh please. I have a towel from that last game I attended at Staples, the one against Orlando. I have been [assured] Kobe rolled in it at halftime. And I trust the person who landed that guarantee on me. I know ... it's creepy, but of course that towel has been framed. It's in my house private Spa space. It hangs on a wall, and below I have a motto that reads, "Every major victory comes from a full effort taken." And now go call the police ... because as I said, I know it's a creepy thing ... *sigh.*

Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan: Everything about being a Lakers fan is memorable. From enjoying the thrill of a team that can be equally lazy and mind-blowing, from the memories of years of pain, turning into glorious shining dominance, then getting shadowed and then gaining back brilliance and glitter again. ... Everything about the Lakers is like fireworks that make nights clear and colorful. It's a bliss, an emotion, and an honor to be a Purple & Gold fan. To me, it's also a sort of duty. I want that style, elegance; the fantasy and the power of this extraordinary franchise gets reflected in the class of their fans. It's us, me and you, and everyone else who jumps up on chairs at every layup by our guys that make LakerNation so lively, flamboyant and special. We are special, and we make a special team just perfect. What is memorable about being Lakers fans is that we can spill the beans for ages about the smallest detail of any player's play, but then we all know our major joy comes through them all. They give us magic and we give them passion. To repeat ... to repeat ... to repeat. Ad libitum. Everything about the Lakers is memorable. EVERY DARN THING. ;) Just watch out: Next missing heartbeat is around any corner. ;) And I can't wait to catch it all along with you, Laker Fam. Live to win, and trust Purple & Gold Knights!

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photos, from top: ZairaAmaterasu first became a Lakers fan after her cousin showed her a Magic Johnson jersey. Credit: Zaira Scotti. Kobe Bryant, triumphant. Zaira says she admires Bryant's work ethic. Credit: Christina House / For The Times. Bryant on the court. Zaira says she met Bryant in Italy and England. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Lakers blog profile: LRob shows his devotion as a Laker fan during a bridal shower

Magic Johnson

This is the first 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: LRob

Occupation: Radio account executive

Age: 49

Gender: Male

Hometown: Detroit

Story behind your screen name: Short for my birth name

How I became a Lakers fan: It started when Kareem was traded to L.A., but really cemented when Magic was drafted by the Lakers. I attended MSU at the same time as Magic

Favorite all-time Lakers memory: NBA Finals 1985 Game 6, when the Lakers won the title in Boston. It was the first time the Lakers beat Boston in the finals and it was sweet payback from the '84 finals. In '84, the Celtics not only beat the Lakers but they also bullied and mocked them. Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell made choking gestures, Bird goaded McHale into clotheslining Rambis and all of Bean Town took to calling Magic “Tragic” Johnson. So 1985 was sweet revenge. No opposing team had ever won the championship on Boston’s home court. Kareem won the finals MVP at the age of 38. A feat that may never be duplicated.

2009-2010 memory: “The Pat.” Kobe’s Game 6 performance against Phoenix when he hit all those incredible jump shots and gave Gentry a "nice try" pat after icing the game. Steve Nash could only marvel, saying, “Those are best-player-in-the-game-type shots."

Most heartbreaking Lakers experience: Easily the 1984 Finals. Nothing hurts like losing to Boston. The Lakers were the better team, but Boston was the tougher team. This was not like 2008, when Boston was the better team and the tougher team.

Favorite Lakers player: Magic

Greatest all-time Laker: Kobe

Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum: Haven’t attended a game at Staples. 1987 at the Forum.

Opposing team, player you dislike the most: Boston's Paul Pierce and Ray Allen

Interactions with Lakers players: None recently. Once helped Magic promote an all-star game in Detroit during the off-season.

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have: Old game tapes on DVD.

Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan:

1) Deciding the night of the final game of the 2000 championship that I would fly down to L.A. the next morning. I wanted to be in L.A. to read all the papers and soak up the celebration because it was a long drought since the '88 title. I got my brother to hang out with me and we were L.A.-bound the next morning. I got all of my championship gear, hung out for a few days and went to the parade. It was an expensive getaway but one I thoroughly enjoyed.

2) During the 1980 Finals, my best college buddy, who was a 76ers fan, and I decided at the last minute we’d ride to Memphis [Tenn.] with another friend. He was going home to attend his brother’s wedding. (I should’ve staying at school and studied for finals coming up the following week, but hey, it was college and kids do dumb stuff.) We arrived the night of Game 6. Back then, the game wasn’t televised live. My boy was confident that Philly would win because Kareem wasn’t playing due to a severely sprained ankle. I was skeptical of the Lakers' chances also, but I put up a brave front.

So while everybody was making plans to go to the bachelor party, we were trying to figure out where we could watch the game on tape delay without any distractions. (I also had to make sure nobody that knew the outcome told me the score.) The guy I rode with had no choice but to attend his brother’s bachelor party. He gave me and the Philly fan two options. We could go to the bachelor party and “maybe” see some of the game. Or he could drop us off where they were having the bridal shower and we could ask to watch the game there.

Of course, I chose to take my talents to the bridal shower. In one room was a bunch of women, some fine ones, too, I might add, doing their thing. We were in the next room with strict orders not to make any noise or interrupt their gathering. We watched the game, but couldn’t get animated or really taunt each other. The Lakers shocked the world that night, led by Magic’s historic performance of 42 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. Silk chipped in with 37 point.

---Mark Medina

[email protected]

Photo: LRob has a significant attachment to Magic Johnson, seen here hugging Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo, because the Detroit native followed his career with the Spartans and once helped Johnson promote an all-star game in Detroit. Credit: Jeff Roberson / Associated Press

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