My Mom married a Southerner when I was 4 years old. We packed up our belongings and moved from Arizona to Alabama. The marriage lasted about a year, but we ended up staying here. I'm still valiantly trying to not pick up the accent.
I began playing basketball at 5 years old, in an 8 and under league. I played point guard. A man my Mom worked with asked her one day what position I played. After telling him, he said, "If you want to see the best point guard there's ever been, you and your son need to watch Magic Johnson. He plays for the Lakers."
And so I was baptized in the Lake.
We watched every Lakers game we could. When we couldn't be home for the game, we'd set the VCR. Sometimes in the NBA offseason, I'd pop in those videotapes (man that makes me feel old) and watch my idols play. Magic was, well, magical. Kareem's skyhook absolutely couldn't be fucked with. James Worthy did work and I remember laughing at how Kurt Rambis looked. And how I HATED the Celtics... Actually, I've never changed my views regarding those wretched bastards.
Sometimes my sister and I would be forced to go outside during a Lakers game, because despite my love of the game, my mother would be eating Cheetos and drinking Coors Lite and screaming, "REBOUND, REBOUND!!!!" at the TV. The ears can only take so much shrill yelling.
I remember crying when I heard Magic was HIV positive. I thought he was going to die.
I remember having Magic Johnson t-shirts in elementary school. In the land of the Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers, being an NBA fan was considered to be about as acceptable as shitting your pants, or saying you hated Jesus.
I've never been to the Staples Center. I've never even been to L.A. One day I will go, and the stupid grin on my face will probably remain there for quite some time after.
My wife and I are going to make the 4 hour drive to Memphis on February 7th to watch the Lakers play the Grizzlies, and I'm more excited than a kid on 100 Christmas mornings. I've never gotten to see the Lakers play in person before. This is so epic for me.
I just wanted to take a minute to write this. I've been reading SS&R for a while now and finally decided to join. I'm happy to be here.