With just one click my dream came true. I emailed the Communications department of the Los Angeles Lakers to see if there was any chance for me to get an interview with any of their players. Within a few days I got a phone call letting me know that I would be attending their practice on Jan. 28.
I arrived at the Toyota Center in El Segundo which is where the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings practice. As I was checked in with security, I was in awe when I read the big yellow and purple sign “Lakers.” It was 11:30 and the doors opened for press, with cameramen scattering around to get their golden shots.
I was overwhelmed with where to go. One side of the room I spotted Ryan Kelly being interviewed by multiple outlets; on the other side was Jeremy Lin practicing his free throw shots.
I was welcomed by John Black, Vice President of Public Relations, who made sure that I gained a superlative journalistic experience.
“Whichever player you would like to interview, let me know and I will make it happen,” he said.
I asked for head coach Byron Scott. He said it might be difficult for a one-on-one, but he would try. Within a few minutes, Black said that Scott was available.
The questions were focused on his star player Kobe Bryant going into surgery that day for his torn rotator cuff.
“Kobe puts all the work in,” Scott said when asked about Bryant’s stamina at every practice.
He continued to say that with the press discussing that Bryant does not have a chance to play next season, it gives Bryant a sense of motivation to work even harder to get back on the court.
The night before, they lost to the Wizards at the Staples Center 98-92. Lakers shooting guards Wayne Ellington and Jordan Clarkson scored a career high of 28 and 18 points, respectively.
Scott shared that there was a much better defense that night, and that it was Ellington’s best game, “Ellington has his feet set.”
I asked Scott how they are preparing for the game against the Chicago Bulls, the #12 ranked team in the league. With Pau Gasol having record high rebounds with the Bulls, Scott said that the fans should give him a standing ovation since Gasol “helped them win two championships.”
“I think fans should show him the respect that he deserves,” he said.
With the help of Senior Manager Alison Bogli, I interviewed shooting guard and small forward Nick Young, better known as “Swaggy P,”as well as guard Jeremy Lin.
I asked both players the same question on how are they expecting themselves and the team to play defensively and offensively now that their star Bryant was out for the season.
Young who came out of physical therapy for his ankle injury answered that “We’ll be all right, we will get better.” He continued to say that defensively the Lakers have improved and that he is determined to return and get the team going offensively.
“We have to be quick minded on our plans, and really take control,” Lin said.
Although they are ranked 27th out of 30 teams in the league, after spending about two hours at the facility it was clear that the team exhibits great stamina and determination to win.
Photo Credit: Arsen Shakhbazyan