Thursday, June 05, 2008
One saturday morning when I was 12 my dad woke my brothers and I up with great news. He was taking us to meet the Lakers. We made the drive out to Inglewood and I had no idea what to expect. I still remember looking out the window from the back seat of my dad's car and seeing airplanes fly low to make their approach into LAX.
Every year the Lakers had a "Jam Session" where a couple of hundred lucky kids got to meet the Laker Girls, see cool exhibits and meet and greet with their favorite Laker. The hype at that year's Jam Session was the recent acquisition of a superstar center from Orlando by the name of O'Neal and a 17 year old high school kid who the Hornets drafted but refused to play for anyone but the Lakers. That summer Jerry West traded Vlade Divac for Charlotte's third string guard with a Japanese name who spoke Italian. It was this summer that two key pieces of the rebirth of the Laker Dynasty fell into place. In the next two years plans for a new and improved arena in downtown were underway and a legendary coach from Chicago would come out of retirement to help a troubled but talented young team.
Tonight millions of Angelenos will tune in and watch something much more than just a basketball game. When the Lakers dominated the finals in 2000, L.A. was in desperate need for a championship team. The city came together and almost didn't know how to handle it. It was the turn of the millennium and with economic development that came with the Staples Center in and around the downtown area people could see the city transforming. Lakers flags waved from nearly every car on the street. The city was alive again! After a 3 years absence from the finals LA is hungry again.
Whether you love them or hate them. The Lake Show... Showtime... The Los Angeles Lakers are more than just a franchise.. They are a Dynasty. They add to the NBA real-life drama, scandal, heartache, passion and tradition.