My father is not particularly interested in sports. That is not to say that he was uninterested. He paid enough attention to the big three pro sports to know who was doing what and he could always tell you what was going on at UCLA, but he wasn't tied to the television set to see most games.
I have been trying to figure out how old I was when I first became a fan of the Lakers. Went to my first Dodger game somewhere around '73 or '74. It was against the Padres. I suppose that it must have been around July 4th because there were fireworks.
It seems to me that in those days athletes made more personal appearances than they do now. I can't say for certain if that is true or not, just my perception. But I can say that dad was pretty good about taking me to see the guys. We'd head over to whatever store they were appearing at and stand in line so that I could get an autograph and shake their hand.
Truth is that until I was around eight I probably didn't care all that much about Wilt Chamberlain, Theotis Brown, Rosey Grier or whomever it was that I met. It was just cool to hang out with my dad.
What I know for certain is that my love for the Lakers really coincided with Magic's rookie season. If you are an NBA fan and you were fortunate enough to be around during the 80's you got a chance to witness some epic battles between my Lakers and the hated celtics.
And let me clear, I hated those guys. Larry Bird made me tear out my hair. I lived and died a thousand deaths during the 1984 championship series.
I have a million memories from 1985. The Lakers beat the hated ones. It was brilliant. It was outstanding and it stands out for a million reasons, not the least of which was an exchange I had in Israel with a group of kids from Boston.
The 80s were dominated by these two teams. Every single year one of the two was in the championship. I suppose that if you are not a fan of either team you might consider that to be dull, but I assure you that it was not.
The kooky Shmata Queen intentionally roots for whatever team I am not. She takes pleasure in trying to irritate me, but we all know that its because cleveland hasn't had a successful team since before the river would spontaneously burst into flame. I do have to give it to the dying city, the burning river saves a lot of money that would be spent on pyrotechnics and then passed on to the fans by increasing ticket prices.
Anyhoo, it is hard to believe that so much time has passed. Back in '88 the Lakers won their second championship in a row, the Dodgers won the World Series and I had one hell of a good time. In fact, if I had to relive a year of my life I do believe that 1988 would be in the top five.
Back to the present. The boys missed too many free throws and just didn't convert in the fourth quarter. That is not a recipe for success and consequently they lost to the hated ones. The good news is that they didn't lose by much. There are still six games and I never expected them to sweep.
My son asked me why I don't play for the Lakers and I had to smile. I took out a tape measure and showed him just how much taller the guys are than I am. His eyes got pretty wide.
That reminds me of a guy I used to see around my old office building. He must have been close to seven feet tall. I was introduced to him in the bathroom. I had gone into one of the stalls to take care of my business and noticed that I could see a head poking over the wall.
He wasn't looking at me. He was using the urinal and facing straight ahead. For a moment I couldn't figure out why he would need to stand on a stool and then suddenly I realized he wasn't. I looked down and saw a pair of dress shoes that could have been used as snow shoes.
You get the point, he was tall.
On a slightly different tack but of interest to me are Ed McMahon and Latrell Sprewell. Now you are probably wondering what the connection is and why they caught my eye. Well the answer my friends is simple, these two men have severe financial issues.
Finances here at the Shack are a bit tough at the moment. There are a couple of small challenges that I am working on, but I'll get through. The two celebrities that I mentioned make my challenge look like a small hiccup.
Just a few years ago Sprewell turned down a $21 million contract and of course my boy Ed is having a small issue with his house.
Now I don't wish either of them ill, but it is hard for me to have real sympathy for them. When I look at how much cash they made, well...
Whatever. We all do what we do and then deal with the consequences.