This 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@example.com.
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.
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.
Most 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
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Upper photo: Derek Fisher Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Lower photo: Magic Johnson. Credit: Los Angeles Times