Mendoza: Lakers suffer, and my golly, I feel hurt, too

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By Al S. Mendoza

All Write

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I AM a Laker fan. It’s been that way since I was a kid.

I own T-shirts with the Laker letters emblazoned on the chest.

Some are new, some are old.

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Some I bought, some are presents to me by homeward bound kabayans from L.A. who know me as a diehard Laker follower.

From Jerry West to Lew Alcindor a.k.a. Kareem Abdul Jabbar, from Magic Johnson to James Worthy, from Robert Horry to Derek Fisher, from Shaq O’Neal to Kobe Bryant—I was, is, a fan of them all.

Of course, don’t forget Pat Riley, the well-groomed Laker coach.

And Phil Jackson, the bespectacled, Zen-wizened replacement of Pat Riley.

Both are legends in their own right.

Somehow, my being a Laker lad had been reinforced when I interviewed Jerry West during his visit in Manila in the Seventies.

If memory serves, that interview landed on Page One of Manila Bulletin, where I was then a sportswriter under Lito Fernandez, the former sports editor who now lives in—you guessed it right—Los Angeles. Lito was, still is I believe, a Los Angeles Dodger fan.

Also, if memory serves, Jerry West was here as one of the judges of the Miss Universe pageant, which was won by—if I am not mistaken—Amparo Munoz of Spain.

Ah, those salad days.

It was martial law, yes, and freedom of almost everything was held by the throat—no thanks to Marcos.

The only freedom we got then was to breadth.

The only truths then in the newspapers were the date and day printed on every page of the three major dailies—Bulletin, Daily Express and The Times Journal.

Oops, there was one more unsullied truth: Only in the sports section would one see an overflow of truths as scores were real, and winners and losers weren’t fabricated.

The true lies appear virtually in the other sections, Page One most notably.

Was I lucky that I was then in the sports beat?

You bet.

Then, I indulged inscrutably in Lakermania, and I still do today—even if the Lakers looked set to be wiped out by the San Antonio Spurs in their ongoing playoffs.

I am glad the Lakers had advanced.

Given the troubles the Lakers had to go through this season, that is one consolation I will cherish.

(alsol47@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 27, 2013.

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